The Lagos State Government in collaboration with Facebook and Google has concluded plans to construct the biggest technology cluster in West Africa.
This is part of the state government’s effort to largely increase the level of its intervention in the provision of technology infrastructure and expand the tech space to accommodate more startups.
This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while on a tour of 2 major innovation and technology hubs within the state on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
Sanwo-Olu, in the company of members of the State’s Executive Council which includes Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Hakeem Fahm, and Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology,
Olatunbosun Alake, visited Venia Hub in Lekki and Impact Hub in Ikoyi, where he met scores of startups in the ecosystems for a roundtable discussion on expanding funding opportunities and infrastructure development.
Sanwo-Olu said the Yaba Technology Cluster, called K.I.T.E., would be a free zone that would allow the growth of funding and financing for innovative ideas generated by entrepreneurs in the tech industry and FinTech space, adding that the ecosystem would also offer free labs for the use of startups to take their innovations from ideation to the next level.
K.I.T.E. is an acronym for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The Governor described technology as the new oil for Lagos, which will exponentially generate wealth and jobs for its young population and also raise the status of the State to attain the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Technology is the new oil and the basic element for the Fourth Industrial Revolution globally. As a State with a massive population of young people, we need to play a major role in the development of technology, which is an enabler to leapfrog into rapid socio-economic growth. We take technology as an important deliverable in our government’s development agenda.
“For us to make a lasting impact in the tech industry, we said to ourselves, we needed to build the infrastructure to support the sector. We are building a tech campus on a 22,000 square meters land in Yaba, which we christen K.I.T.E. We are working with global brands in the tech space, such as Facebook and Google, to deliver this important technology hub.
“We are currently laying 3,000 kilometres metropolitan fiber optic cables across the State to drop reliable and fast Internet connectivity in homes and workplaces. These are part of the infrastructure required as the backbone for the tech industry to flourish and empower our young people in the space to take their businesses and ideas to the level of stability.”
The governor said that apart from the infrastructural initiatives, the State Government had been providing support for startups through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), which provide grant opportunities for innovators and tech researchers.
He also disclosed that 2 out of the 20 start-ups ideas supported through LASRIC last year had secured patents for their innovations and were ready to transform into fully-fledged businesses that would create jobs.
Going further Governor Sanwo-Olu said:
“The visit to your ecosystems today is for you to be assured that this Government is not sitting back in taking steps to ease access. We fully understand the role which technology plays in our lives and how technology is important to any society that wants to be relevant in coming decades. We are happy to be building the capability for Lagos so that we can compete with other developed cities in the world.”
LSETF Executive Secretary, Mrs Teju Abisoye, said the agency had been providing support for over 38 partner hubs across Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State, stressing that the objective of the funding was to support startups from idea to exit stages.