The Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr Khaled El Dokani, has said making cities more livable and more productive is one of the best strategies for growing the country’s economy and improving the welfare of millions of its people.
El Dokani, stated this while speaking at the fourth edition of Lafarge Africa’s public policy thought-leadership series, Concrete Ideas, held on the 30th of November 2021 and titled “PPPS in Urban Regeneration: Global Best Practices, Nigerian Opportunities.”
“More than 80 per cent of global GDP is generated in cities. Making our cities more livable and more productive is thus one of the best strategies for growing our economies and improving the welfare of millions of our people.”
He pointed out that the world’s greatest cities today were once marred by slums and urban regeneration projects have helped global cities attain their status.
The Country CEO of Lafarge added ‘Nigeria has so much to gain in terms of reducing poverty, improving the health of our citizens, tackling climate change etc. Successful urban regeneration requires an “integrated approach” and this is why Lafarge has assembled architects, economists, finance professionals, lawyers, sociologists etc. to discuss the potential of urban regeneration in Nigeria and provide workable, action-oriented solutions.’
He also expressed gratitude for the continuous support and engagement of thought leaders from the private and public sectors who have worked with Lafarge to make Concrete Ideas the leading platform for continuous dialogue between the public and private sectors on real estate, infrastructure and construction. He thanked the thought leaders for generously sharing the insights they have garnered from decades of hard work and dedication to their specializations.
In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, said acute housing deficit all over the world is mainly an urban phenomenon and that historically, cities all over the world have partnered with private investors to transform slums, boost the stock of housing and provide economic opportunities to urban dwellers.
“Our government is committed to exploring tested strategies to alleviate Nigeria’s housing challenges. I have encountered very innovative ideas for partnership with the private sector in the Concrete Ideas series. Being the Special Guest of Honour in Concrete Ideas for the third time is a reflection of our commitment to working with the private sector in transforming these ideas into concrete solutions to the housing and infrastructure problems for Nigerian cities. The beauty of Concrete Ideas is that there is an in-built mechanism for follow-up. The government will keep its side of the bargain by formulating policies out of these good ideas.”
The Chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc, Prince Adebode Adefioye, in his opening remarks said: “Urban degeneration is a global challenge that can be solved through urban regeneration projects resulting in the advancement of socio-economic and technological development of economies including the creation of more efficient transportation systems, sustainable livelihoods, employment generation, foreign investment, healthier citizens etc.
“We believe that through robust discussions and effective collaboration at all levels, we can transform our urban centres into vibrant communities that attract investments, generate jobs, boost productivity and power economic growth”.
Adefioye expressed the belief that regeneration projects could “nurture vibrant hubs for the creative and digital economy”, thus enabling Nigeria to scale up the multimillion-dollar investments the country’s technology sector is attracting.
Renowned experts in public policy and leading industry players at the session include; Mohamed Yahya, Resident Representative, UNDP Nigeria, Ms Tosin Osinowo, Principal Architect, cmDesign Atelier; Dr Basirat Oyalowo, Research Manager, Centre for Housing Studies at the University of Lagos; Mr Emma Okas Wike, The President, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers; Mr Simon Gusah, an Australia-registered Urban Development Planner and Head, Technical Products and Innovation, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr Femi Yusuff.
The experts shared many examples and insights on how PPPs have been used to regenerate blighted communities all over the world, sharing ideas on how relevant policies could be adapted for Nigeria.
The Concrete Ideas platform embodies Lafarge Africa Plc’s thought leadership interventions and has become a catalyst for the attainment of sustainable change and continuous improvement within the sector.