ICSID 2020: Facilitators Task African Nations on Infrastructure Sustainability
Facilitators at the recent 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructural Development (ICSID 2020), hosted by Covenant University, have urged African countries to ensure the sustenance of their infrastructure to avert the looming danger of infrastructural deficit in the foreseeable future.
Professor Innocent Musonda of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dr Nadine Ibrahim, both Keynote Speakers at the virtual conference organized by the Department of Civil Engineering, acknowledged that provision of infrastructure was an imposing challenge in Africa. Also noted were growing gaps between supply and demand of necessary infrastructure and services such as in electricity supply, water access, sewer and waste removal, and transportation.
Making his presentation titled 'Building Sustainable Infrastructure in Post Covid-19 Era', Professor Musonda, who was the 1st Keynote Speaker, said that based on the report of Hoornweg and Pope (2017), African cities would make up the 13 of the top 20 cities worldwide in population by 2100.
Professor Musonda noted that infrastructure was critical as it enabled economic growth and socio development, among others. He stated that sustainable infrastructure was achievable through goal-oriented developments, Public and Private Partnerships (PPP), local-centric thinking, data-rich environments, collaboration and stakeholder involvement, and de-politicized infrastructure development.
In her presentation titled 'Sustainability of Urban Infrastructure in Cities, Megacities, and Mega-regions', Dr Ibrahim submitted that by 2050, the top 10 countries with the highest increase in population would be in Africa.
The 2nd Keynote Speaker had in a sustainability assessment of megaregions around the world, narrowed to the Western African mega-region indicated the rural density, city populations and urban catchment areas. She then focused on Lagos, Nigeria, showing the bio-physical and socioeconomic indicators and emphasized that rapid growth was difficult to manage, but must be a plan.
On sustainability strategies, she remarked that buildings, transportation, waste management, water and wastewater were the areas that needed more intervention.
Another Keynote Speaker, Engr. (Dr) Thomas B. Eyo of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, who made a presentation titled 'Research and Development: Adoption of Innovations and Technologies for Sustainable Road Infrastructure', notified that there was an urgent need of reform in the nation's highway sector.
Engr. Eyo suggested a synergy between the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigerian Universities, and the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and the Nigerian engineering professionals to replace the large volume of theoretical courses or topics contained in the present engineering curriculum. This, he said, would contribute to producing graduates that could effectively attend to the infrastructural needs of the nation.
In his remarks at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akan Williams, stated that rising population and increasing migration, which added to the rapid growth of cities and boom in megacities, called for intentional actions to build resilience societies and economy. According to him, this would reverse the low quality of life from this increasing population and urban growth.
Covenant University, he noted, was actively involved in research efforts aimed at evolving innovative solution towards the achievement of the African Union agenda for 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals. He said that Covenant welcomed collaboration in this regard.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, ICSID 2020 Local Organizing Committee, Dr Anthony Ede, said that the Conference series served as a platform for generating solutions to the challenges of infrastructural development facing Africa. Also, the Head, Department of Civil Engineering, Professor David Olukanni appreciated God Almighty for the preservation of lives. He also thanked the Covenant Chancellor, Dr David O. Oyedepo and the University Management for providing the platform to host the conference.
Professor Innocent Musonda
Dr Nadine Ibrahim