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Circular Economy: Lagos Targets SMEs As It Hosts Hotspot 2023

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Lagos State Government will be targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the heart of this discussion as well as other industry in its maiden edition of Circular Economy Hotspot 2023 (LCEH2023).

The Chairman, Technical Committee on Lagos Circular Economy Hotspot 2023/Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Omobolaji Gaji made this known to Echonews.

Lagos Circular Economy Hotspot 2023 (LCEH2023) is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that serves as a platform to foster co-creation and highlight cities and societies transition towards converting wastes to resources.

Gaji said, “Since the roundtable, citizens and businesses have continued the conversation on how to utilise the waste and other resources in Lagos with our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the heart of this discussion as well as our industry. We desire that the Lagos Circular Economy Hotspot will highlight the critical role the SMEs play in driving innovation, fostering sustainable solutions, and driving entrepreneurship”.

According to him, the event, which will hold on Wednesday, 26th and Thursday, 27th July, 2023 at Lagos Continental Hotel, will avail Lagos an opportunity to highlight how the State is transitioning towards the circular economy and how our businesses and citizens are co-creating innovations.

His words: “The initiative will allow Lagos to deepen the conversation as we build on our climate adaptation policy, our 30-year Lagos Development Plan, and the role of each and every stakeholder in building a sustainable city”.

According to him, Lagos State Government, under the leadership of Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, organised a Roundtable on Circular Economy on 2nd December, 2020, which brought together all stakeholders, businesses and citizens on the journey towards a resourceful and waste free economy. To demonstrate government’s commitment, a Technical Working Group on Circular Lagos was constituted with the objective of driving the framework and developing a roadmap for the transition.

“Since the roundtable, citizens and businesses have continued the conversation on how to utilise the waste and other resources in Lagos with our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the heart of this discussion as well as our industry. We desire that the Lagos Circular Economy Hotspot will highlight the critical role the SMEs play in driving innovation, fostering sustainable solutions, and driving entrepreneurship”, he said.

Speaking further, Gaji described Lagos as a sub-national in the forefront of creating models for development for other States and cities in Africa to emulate. “Lagos bided and won the right to host the first Circular Economy Hotspot in Africa. This laudable event has previously been hosted in Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Catalonia – Spain, Dublin, Ireland this April 2023”, he said.

The Country Representative, Africa Circular Economy Network, (ACEN)/Board Member Circular Economy Innovation Partnership (CELP), Mr. Abayomi Magbagbeola, explained that the shift to a circular economy would help Lagos tackle several challenges such as pollution, unemployment and resource scarcity.

His words, “With our circular economy strategy, we aim to create an ecosystem where waste is seen as a resource, not as a problem. Part of our responsibility is to foster a sustainable society where everyone has a role to play to ensure a safer Lagos. We must have the mindset that change begins with us just as hotspot waves start inward and spread outward. We need to ensure that our resources are judiciously used. This will not only enhance our environmental performance but also generate new business opportunities and jobs”.

The Chapter Lead, Africa Circular Economy Network Nigeria, Mrs. Kemi Ajakaiye confirmed that the #LCEH2023 initiative is first of its kind in West Africa, with aim to transition from a linear ‘take-make-waste’ economy to a circular ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ economy. “This ambitious project plans to encompass all sectors of the Lagos economy, including manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and waste management”, she noted.