The first annual LAKAJI corridor investment summit was successfully concluded in Abuja on August 29th, with Integra making sure that ICTs featured prominently. The summit brought together over 200 members of the private sector to articulate a clear vision of how to develop an agricultural trade corridor. The vision incorporates the development of a multi-modal trade expressway between Lagos and Kano, with junctions connecting off-corridor states, and includes a steering committee of private sector representatives that will coordinate investments. Integra participated in the investment summit under USAID’s NEXTT Project.
Several dignitaries, including Nigeria’s Federal Minister for Industry, Trade, and Investment, the US Chargez d’Affaires, and the executive governor of Kano state were in attendance. The attendees were more than 70% from the private sector, and deals were struck throughout the conference.
Integra’s Eric White spoke to a breakout session of over 50 people about the role that ICT can play in development of an agricultural trade corridor. While making the case for ICT as an infrastructure of equal importance to road and rail, he focused specifically on the example of virtual commodity exchanges, highlighting a project under development in this area that NEXTT is supporting.
As a result of the summit, several ICT projects are being pushed forward along the corridor. These include an effort by the government to bring connectivity to areas being targeted by investors, broadening the use of logistics fleet management systems, and incorporating ICT tools into cashew extension programs.