By Moses Adeniyi
Chinese Tech giant, Huawei, has said that the Lagos State Government (LASG) is demonstrating the right commitment to the Lagos Smart City Agenda, giving indications of attracting the firm to Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Thursday following the tour of a Lagos economic team led by the Governor of the State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) advance to the management of Huawei.
Recall that the Governor’s led team have been on a tour to Asian Giant, China, which has occasioned visits to leading Chinese firms for partnership in attracting FDI into Lagos in a bid to drive the Lagos Smart City Agenda. Huawei Managing Director, Eric Zhang, on Thursday affirmed the Company’s willingness to partner Lagos on its transformation vision into a Smart City.
He added that prime place of Lagos in the world’s economy and the value of social security in the State are indicators that attracts the interest of the company to the State.
Zhang said, “As someone who is very familiar with Nigeria and Lagos especially, Huawei is ready to work with Lagos on the transformation journey. I know that transforming Lagos into Smart-city is an exercise that will happen in phases, but the most important requirement is government commitment, which you have demonstrated”.
“Huawei will be happy to collaborate with you on the project and work with your government to gradually build a State of your vision.
“More importantly, the impacts of this project on the economy, the influence of Lagos State in the world and social security are convincing reasons that will make any organisation take interest in collaborating with Lagos State on a project of this significance”.
The transformation vision of Lagos into a smart city is appearing to be receiving a boost as leading Chinese technological companies have been expressing willingness to partner the State on the goal, following the tour which has lasted for a number of days.
Chinese automobile company, GAC Motors had earlier expressed willingness to extend an operational base to Lagos after possible feasibility studies.
At separate meetings with the management teams of EHang and Huawei, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assured the tech giants of the readiness of Lagos to take its rightful place in the comity of megacities by providing key technology and infrastructure required for a Smart City.
The Governor said: “We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public.
“We do not have the big cheques to sign for this total transformation now, but it is a journey we know will take us into the future, where we really should be, as Africa’s most populous city and seventh largest economy. The vitality of our 22 million people and political stability are valid collateral that should provide comfort in the collaboration we are seeking”.
He further expressed his government’s determination to efficiently manage traffic and drive compliance with traffic rules from a single point.
He maintained that “Traffic officials need to get equipped with gadgets that interface with the command centre real-time.
“Anyone who needs medical attention should be able to book a hospital appointment and get matched with a Doctor digitally. Public services and security should be executable online, real-time.”
In addition the Lagos Government’s economic team was guided on a tour of Huawei Campus in Shenzhen by the Managing Director of Huawei, Eric Zhang, in the company of Global Vice President of Enterprise Business Group, Mr. Laurent Fan, Huawei Vice President for Government and Public Utility, David Zhang and Global Public Safety Expert, Peter Goulding, among others.
Also the Governor has called on the management of EHang, a leading Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) technology company, for possible collaboration on providing facilities for emergency services and security agencies in Lagos metropolis.
Sanwo-Olu however noted that while Lagos may still be faced with some challenging emergency situations requiring urgent, and innovative solutions, his administration is committed to the welfare and safety of citizens which has been one of the driving force to seek partnership with advanced technology companies.
Expressing her company’s willingness to partner with Lagos State, EHang’s Director for Strategic Cooperation, Ms. Shiny Biu disclosed that the company will engage in further discussions to determine the appropriate models for a partnership with Lagos.
Ehang is a Chinese firm that provides AAV products and commercial solutions in urban air mobility, including passenger transportation and logistics, smart city management and aerial solutions.
The company is the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility industry.