Lagos, development partners and the path of progress
In-spite of the fact that activities lined up to mark Lagos’ Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebration have officially ended, the euphoria created by the event still lingers on.
Certainly, Lagos has good reasons to celebrate at 50. It has enjoyed and sustained an enduring political and impressive socio-economic culture. It remains the melting point of Nigeria as well as the economic and commercial hot spot of West Africa. It remains a pace setter that other states look up to for tips in the art of contemporary governance, socio-economic growth and political stability.
In-spite of current national economic challenges, Lagos remains economically viable as its IGR is bigger than those of 32 states of the federation while its GDP is bigger than those of Kenya and Ghana combined. If it were to be a country, Lagos would be Africa’s fifth largest economy.
But then, it is important to stress that Lagos’ prosperity partly thrives on its partnership with various individuals, International agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and corporate organizations that are always willing to come on board, to ensure that Lagos continues to excel and life in diverse sectors.
The beginning of the current democratic dispensation in 1999 actually marks a new era in relation between Lagos and her developmental partners. It was particularly during the administration of former Governor Bola Tinubu that deliberate efforts were made to court new development partners as well as sustain old ones. Ever since, advocacy for government support and partnership have been greatly rekindled and the response has, no doubt, been overwhelming.
Till date, the state government through the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget (MEPB) has continued to coordinate and effectively manage the State’s existing relationships with both local and International Development Partners (DP) in other to sustain development partnership programmes and activities as well as, identifying new potentials to drive further development in the State.
Support activities and programmes of the various DPs within the State are continuous and transcend different administrations. Over the years, Lagos has benefitted directly from International Development partners most especially United Nations (UN) and some of its agencies: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Save The Children International (STCI)etc., UK Department For International Development (DFID), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), MAMAYE Evidence For Action (MEA), French Development Agencie (AFD), Global Fund (GF), Rockefeller Foundation:100 Resilient Cities (100RC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID)just to mention a few. In all there are over 10 DPs operating in Lagos and still counting.
To date all the aforementioned DPs have had direct impact one way or another in governance in the State. However, it will be worthwhile to carry out an impact assessment on one or two of them, what they have been able to do and what they are doing at the moment.
Between 2013 and 2014, UK Department For International Development(UK-DFID), intervened in the State through its various programmes which included: State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability- (SPARC); Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria – (ESSPIN); State Accountability and Voice Initiatives – (SAVI); Partnership for Transformation of Health Systems – (PATHS2); Growth and Employment in States 3 (GEMS3) –(Land & Tax Reform); Growth and Employment in States 4 (GEMS4) – (Wholesales & Retail Market); Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for Better Business Environment – (ENABLE);Justice for All – (J4A); Enhancing Nigeria Response to HIV/AIDS – (ENR); Voices for Change (V4C) and DEEPEN – (Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria), with focus on improving learning outcomes in Private Schools, especially for children from low income households.
Over the years the impact of UNICEF, in particular, has been felt in Lagos in the area of enhanced capacity of Lagos State institutions to advocate for, develop, implement and monitor Youth friendly policies, programmes and expenditure frameworks; Strengthened technical and institutional capacities of Lagos State institutions to collect, analyze, manage, disseminate and use gender disaggregated data; Support meeting of Adolescent Focal persons on Data disaggregation for Adolescents and young people accessing HCT, PMTCT and ART services in 10 comprehensive sites and 5 youth friendly centers, to mention but a few.
The Agence Francaise De Development (AFD), is another DP that has shown total commitment in collaborating with the State Government in urban development which includes Slum upgrading, solid waste Management and water sector improvement and other areas of development in the State. In February 2015, the Federal Executive Council approved a credit facility of USD 100million for integrated urban development projects referred to as Eko Urban Project (EKO-UP) from AFD. The facility agreement was signed by AFD and the Federal Ministry of Finance on behalf of Lagos State Government in March 25, 2015.
Presently, the slum upgrading programme which is Component 1 is being coordinated by the Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA) in Ifelodun and Bariga LCDAs. Proposed investments include the construction of drainage infrastructure, roads, street lighting, schools and public health care centers. In Ifelodun LCDA, the project proposes to build a detention basin (1.5ha) implying the resettlement and compensation of 2,260 people in the area.
It is expected that part of the credit facility will be used to enhance the management and treatment of solid waste in Lagos State while some of it is to be used for the construction of new waste management infrastructure that will be coordinated by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) which is Component 2. Proposed investments include the reclamation of an open dump in a suitable location within the State and construction of a new sanitary land fill (35-40 ha) complying with international sanitary and environmental standards including a biogas collection system. Ultimately, part of the credit will be used to strengthen the capacity of Lagos State to develop and implement Urban Development projects and Waste Management Projects.
A more recent addition to the array of DPs operating in Lagos is 100 Resilient Cities (Rockefeller Foundation), which on May25, 2016, selected Lagos State from more than 400 applicants around the globe to join 100 Resilient Cities (RC) network worldwide that will build urban resilience.
Lastly, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also supported the State with interventions targeted at areas relating to health. However, over the last few years, JICA signified its intention to provide interventions in areas other than health to include urban mass transportation. Consequently, JICA has conducted a detailed feasibility study on the monorail project to validate the initial survey, which will eventually lead to a huge investment in the project if the results of the feasibility study are positive, amongst other conditions.
It is obvious from the above that the State Government could not have had it better over the years without the commitments of all her DPs. Successes recorded over the years will continue to spur the State Government to reach out to others for the overall improvement of good governance and best practices in the State. On her part, the State Government will continue to make necessary provisions in the annual budget for counterpart funding to demonstrate her commitment to the various partnership enterprises.
Olowu-Adekoya is Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget