The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state is deepening investment in technology, healthcare, infrastructure, culture and the people to withstand the shocks of future pandemics.
Obaseki said this during a virtual session at the 2022 Smart Cities Mayor’s Summit held in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.
The summit was attended by global leaders from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, France and Malaysia, among others, with Obaseki being the only African leader to speak at the summit.
According to the governor, “COVID didn’t impact us from a healthcare perspective but a livelihood perspective. Most of our strategy in terms of thinking of our future has been drastically changed as a result of the pandemic.
“For us, our focus is on our culture; how to engage the world to preserve our ecosystem, which includes our forestry, and utilize technology to drive development, particularly in the area of education, skill development and security.
“Our aspiration is to plan our cities and take the opportunity of the post-COVID-19 era to build infrastructure. We have a 30-year project to develop our state and invest in our people. We are taking the opportunity of job creation to impact young people.
“COVID 19 taught us that we are on our own and must begin to build our people and infrastructure with the instrumentality of technology. The redefinition of our city, post-COVID-19, is to focus on culture. We want to connect our past to our cities. We have designed a cultural district and would build a pavilion to hold the artefacts being returned to our state.
“We have a technology park that would train young people to take advantage of the boom in the technology sector. We have designed a medical district and we expect more investments and partnerships to help in growing the sector,” Obaseki noted.
On his part, Mr. Konrad Fijolek, Mayor of Rzeszow, Poland showcased the government’s efforts on the Urban Lab of Rzeszow, a space for developing innovative solutions and ideas for the city, where testing and implementation of those ideas help improve the quality of lives of city residents.
Also, Cammy Day, Deputy Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, United Kingdom, who spoke on the city’s waste management efforts towards realizing a smart city, said the government is deploying litter bin sensors across the city to provide accurate bin usage and align with collection activities.
The Summit, which is the world’s largest networking platform among smart city governments, provides a high-level dialogue platform for global mayors and city leaders to exchange innovative strategies and visions on future city developments.
This year, the summit was conducted in a hybrid form. In concordance with the theme of SCSE: Digital Transformation Takes Smart Cities to New Heights, the topics for the roundtable sessions are “How do cities respond to the “New Normal” with digital transformation?” and “In face of the “New Normal” in the pandemic era, what role do city governments play in driving the city’s digital transformation