Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said the country’s vision and implementation of urban regeneration should lead to sustainable communities where people will like to live and stay.
Fashola stated this while leading renowned stakeholders in both the public and private sectors in the discussion on solutions to Nigeria’s urban housing problems.
The theme of the event is, “PPPS in Urban Regeneration: Global Best Practices, Nigerian Opportunities” the fourth in Lafarge’s public policy thought-leadership series, Concrete Ideas.
Fashola noted one of the major concerns of urban regeneration, which is that despite the government’s intervention in some of these blighted and unplanned communities, only a small number of people who grew up in those areas want to come back and live there.
“As we embark on regeneration of these blighted unplanned areas, two things must stand at the back of our minds. It may be difficult to find a child who wants to grow and raise a family in unplanned communities despite the interventions. Oftentimes, you will find that people grow up in these areas and want to leave later on.”
The Minister said that 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.
He noted: “Our government is committed to exploring tested strategies to alleviate Nigeria’s housing challenges. I have encountered very innovative ideas for partnerships with the private sector in the Concrete Ideas series.
“Being the Special Guest of Honour of Concrete Ideas for the third time underscores our commitment to working with the private sector to transform the recommendations from the discussions into concrete solutions towards alleviating the housing and infrastructure problems in 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.”
He added, “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.
The Country Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Khaled El Dokani, on his part expressed gratitude for the continuous support and engagement of thought leaders from the private and public sectors who have worked with Lafarge Africa to make Concrete Ideas the leading platform for continuous dialogue between the public and private sectors on real estate, infrastructure and construction.
He appreciated the thought leaders for generously sharing the insights they have garnered from decades of hard work and dedication to their specializations.
El Dokani, particularly appreciated the Special Guest of Honour, the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was participating in Concrete Ideas for the third time for his belief in and support for Concrete Ideas.
Experts in public policy and leading industry players at the session include; 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; Mohamed Yahya, Resident Representative, UNDP Nigeria and Head, Technical Products and Innovation, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Femi Yusuff