By Eric Ojo, Abuja
The government of France has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring sustainable urban development in Nigeria.
The French Development Agency (AFD) has been actively involved in development activities in Nigeria over the years. The AFD country office was opened in Abuja in 2008 just after the opening in Lagos in 2007 of PROPARCO, its subsidiary dedicated to the private sector.
In addition, the focus of the AFD Country Intervention Framework for Nigeria (2014 – 2018), was on two main objectives: Diversify the economy and improve competitiveness; and Promote sustainable cities.
The Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Jérôme Pasquier who gave the assurance in his opening remarks at a conference on “Private and Public Innovations for Sustainable Cities” which was held on Monday in Lagos, said France involvement in the promotion of sustainable urban development in Nigeria has been demonstrated through its public and private investments.
Aside from highlighting the role France has played and continued to play in the realm of sustainable urban development in Nigeria, the Ambassador reminded the audience of France’s leadership in the fight against climate change.
He noted that sustainability entails not only climate smartness but also making cities welcoming for all through access to basic services and well-designed public spaces.
“As President Emmanuel Macron announced two years ago, these issues will be at the heart of the 2020 Africa-France Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Bordeaux next June. Heads of State and Government from all across the continent will be invited to participate in the Summit which will also feature a trade fair, La Cité des Solutions, open to project leaders drawn from the private sector, local governments as well as civil society”, he said.
The fair, according to him, will exhibit African and French solutions to the many challenges that come with urbanization, demographic growth and climate change.
The conference which was organized by the Embassy of France in Nigeria and the AFD, at the Alliance Française Lagos/Mike Adenuga Center, was declared opened by the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat.
The conference was moderated by Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center and it touched on a wide range of issues relating to urban development and climate change.
Moreover, it brought together French and Nigerian private companies ranging from start-ups to multinational enterprises in sectors such as transportation, energy, waste and sanitation. Some of the organizations that participated in the conference include, Alstom, Kwik, Shuttlers, Arnergy, Clean Technology Hub, Greenelec, EnvironQuest, WeCyclers and SGI.
The Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development of Kaduna State, Fausat Ibikunle, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development of Oyo State, Ademola Bashiru Ajibola, and the MD/CEO of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Fitzgerald Umah, and the Director of the Center for Housing and Sustainable Development of the University of Lagos, Taibat Lawanson, also took part in the event.
The participants acknowledged the necessity to share and promote solutions, across the public and private sectors, to make cities more sustainable and they also acknowledged that the conference as an opportunity to do that.
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