Transparency and Integrity


Matthew Okunsebor: Alaghodaro Summit As Pivot For Sustainable Development


Alaghodaro Summit As Pivot For Sustainable Development. 

Opinion By Mathew Okunsebor. 

The Edo Economic Summit, Alaghodaro, was initiated by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in 2017 to create a platform where the public sector, the private sector, politicians, non-governmental organizations, religious and traditional leaders and civil societies all meet to discuss, interrogate and recommend policy options that are necessary to take Edo State and its people to unhindered prosperity. Essentially, Alaghodaro 2021 Summit was a platform where Edo State Government engaged public and private sector stakeholders and participants, exchanged knowledge, shared ideas and discussed initiatives that would deliver positive impacts on the people while also attracting investors to the State.

Alaghodaro 2021 was the fifth edition of the annual Edo Summit organized by the Edo State Government in collaboration with the private sector. This Summit coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration and the 30th anniversary of the creation of Edo State. It also sets out the reforms, policies and programmes so far executed which are aimed at creating a safe and conducive environment for private investment, economic advancement and enhancement for the well-being of Edo people.

It is common knowledge that the global socio-economic and political climate has been unstable and unpredictable for some time, and this underscores the need for any serious government to go the extra mile to seek for strategic ways to achieve sustainable future in the midst of uncertainties.

The Alaghodaro 2021 Summit with the theme, “Edo of Our Dreams: Building a Sustainable Future,” took place between November 12 and 14, 2021. The three-day Summit provided another opportunity for all stakeholders – government, private sector, civil societies, academia, development partners, traditional and religious leaders from within and outside the State to engage and interrogate government policies, programmes and projects since 2016, with the key objective of undertaking a prudent inventory of achievements, evaluating progress in delivering to the people and its impact on the people of the State.

The Summit was structured to have different sections which focused on the core thematic issues. The objective was to underscore the importance of sustaining the development agenda of making Edo great again (MEGA) and as well to develop a clear outline and framework for the next steps.

The 2021 Edo Summit (Alaghodaro) took place at the Festival Hall, Government House, Benin City on Friday, 12th November, 2021, while the Prof. Uwaifo Creative Hub was launched on Saturday, 13th November, 2021 at Airport Road, Benin City. This event was followed by Edo Youth MEGA Concert at 6.00 pm on the same day at Airport Road, Benin City, while everyone gathered for Praise Night which came up on Sunday, 14th November, 2021 at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium (Lawn Tennis Court), Benin City from 5.00 pm.

During this year’s Alaghodaro Summit, the Director, Strategic Partnerships, Decagon Limited, Mr. George Imoedemhe and the Chief Executive Officer, e-Scape Technologies Limited, Mr. Chris Abhulimen were among global tech experts who served as panelists and identified opportunities that exist in the digital economy. They outlined pragmatic approaches to leveraging these opportunities for Edo youths.

Other panelists include the Co-Founder, Farmforte Limited, Mr. Osazuwa Osayi and the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Strategy, Policy, Projects, and Performance Management, Mrs. Sarah Esangbedo Ajose Adeogun, while the Senior Digital Development Specialist, World Bank, Ms. Ida Mboob served as moderator for the session.

The panel session, with the theme, “Empowering the Next Generation through Innovation and Digitalization,” also discussed the specific programmes, policies and projects so far undertaken to fast-track Edo State’s position as the technology hub of Nigeria and highlighted the areas that require additional measures from public and private sector stakeholders to accelerate the growth of innovation and digitization in the State.

It is interesting to note that Edo State brought together big-ticket investors from different parts of the world to chart a path towards establishing a structure to tap into the $6bn inflow from Diaspora remittances, as part of the Government’s efforts at engendering inclusive growth and accelerating development in the State. This year’s Alaghodaro Summit harnessed opportunities for the setup of the Edo State Diaspora Commission in a bid to ensuring a more coordinated approach in relating with the State's active Diaspora population.

It is heartwarming to know that Edo people in Diaspora are doing excellently well in all walks of life. Therefore, there is need to attract Diaspora investors into the State. This, together with other measures to attract investment into Edo, was the focal point of Alaghodaro 2021.

Nigeria is a key player in the Diaspora such that the 2017 World Bank report showed that Diaspora remittance was $22 billion.  Further analysis showed that Edo State’s share was about $6 billion. Therefore, it is obvious that Edo people in Diaspora have a big role to play in the economic growth of the State, and there is need to harness their capacity.

This year’s Alaghodaro was another opportunity to showcase investment opportunities and the progress made so far in Edo State, while opening up the State’s economy for private sector participation with a view to attracting more investments into the State. All these laudable efforts of the State Government are geared towards Making Edo Great Again (MEGA).

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