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Bridging Infrastructure Gap: ‘Nigeria Needs $11trn To Reach Full Potential’ – ACEN President

President of Association of Consulting Engineers of Nigeria (ACEN), Ajibade Oke, has stated that Nigeria needs $11 trillion in infrastructure to realize its full potential.

Oke said the expanding population in Africa places a burden on countries like Nigeria, necessitating sustained investment in socio-economic infrastructure.

According to him, “there will always be need for infrastructural development as population increases. This phenomenon is more apparent in Africa where population increases geometrically.

“Unfortunately, Africa has added disadvantage of needing to catch up with the rest of the world. Nigeria needs about $11 trillion to get adequate infrastructure and also meet up with the rest of the world. The world will not wait for Africa. We need to double up.”

Oke, who noted that hosting the conference for the third time in Nigeria was significant in view of the worldwide recovery from COVID-19, said infrastructure development is critical to attempts to restructure the country’s economy.

Also speaking at the conference, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, alongside professional engineers and specialists, decried the lack of infrastructure in many African countries.

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AIHS 2022

They stated that the infrastructure deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa is compounded by low investment and inadequate finance, and urged governments to prioritize the development of key socio-economic infrastructure that may catalyze GDP growth and generate prosperity.

They harped the need for government to take advantage of public-private partnership financing, saying private sector funding will accelerate delivery of long-term infrastructure, bolster availability of services to people and create more jobs.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, (Mrs.) Aramide Adeyoye, said without adequate and quality infrastructure, it would be difficult to create jobs, especially for the growing youth population, and decent living standards for the people.

He said the state government has consistently accorded priority to infrastructure development and renewal to build a stronger economic base, in line with the status of Lagos State as Africa’s fastest growing megacity.

President, International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Africa, Kabelo Motswagole, stated that the theme of the conference is apt and auspicious at a time most governments in Africa are looking for alternative ways of funding infrastructure development and maintenance.

According to him, “This is particularly so, as the COVID-19 pandemic expenditure depleted most countries’ development budgets.”

Motswagole added that issues of sustainability and resilient infrastructure are important to consulting engineers, therefore the conference is expected to generate solutions and useful resources that could help government in addressing challenges of infrastructure.

THE GUARDIAN

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