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Obaseki seals deal with Gates Foundation to sustain digital reforms in Edo, launches digital lab

5 Feb 2023

L-R: Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Caro Welch; Deputy Director of the Foundation, Tijjani Mohammed, and Senior Programme Officer of the Foundation, Bunmi Okunowo, during the signing of agreement/launch of Foundation, at the Government House in Benin City, on Monday, February 6, 2023.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has entered a new partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to sustain ongoing digital reforms in the state.

The government also launched a digital lab programme, in collaboration with the Foundation, to support startups and encourage digital innovators.

Governor Obaseki stated that the digital lab programme which is a legacy project of the administration will not only bring to fruition the state’s development agenda but also sustain the government’s key achievements and digital pathways.


He said, “We are intentional about making Edo a destination of choice for digital solutions. Our goal is that before the next five years in Edo, we should have trained not less than 10,000 software engineers to compete in the global market.

“This digital lab programme will form the critical plank of our programmes to enhance our digital transformation in Edo State and sustain all our efforts in transforming Edo into being digital.


“We have set a target to make Edo the best place to work and live in Africa by the year 2050 and as such, we are pioneering the adoption of new tools and processes that take us farther to this target.”

The governor continued: “The place of technology on our quest to sustain our development strikes at the core of our reforms, whether in terms of improving our processes, creating opportunities for collective growth and opening up the space to engage our people to both work and build virile, strong and indomitable institutions.

“Technology is the life wire of the new Edo State. Whether it is from recalibrating how our teachers teach to rejuvenating the facilities that deliver healthcare services, especially at the PHC level or informing the way we think and deliver tasks in the jobs in our civil and public service, or in terms of land management. In all of these, we are deploying technology in more innovative ways than was previously thought possible.”


“These amongst other things are our drive to move towards a more digitized world and in attracting investment and exploring partnerships that deepen the penetration of digital technology in our daily lives,” he added.

Obaseki further stated, “Our roadmap prioritizes infrastructure development, education and innovation. We intend to connect fibre optic cables to all 18 local government areas before the end of this year. The land administration has been completely digitized and designed and we implement the first digital fleet management system for the civil and public service in Edo to improve workplace mobility. We have transformed and set a new standard via technology in education in the EdoBEST programme and partnered with institutions to train people in Edo on digital and creative skills.

“As we launch the digital lab project in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I believe that it is important to stress that this is a landmark project that captures the essence of our digital transformation pathway as a state. Therefore, we will give it every effort to ensure that we come up with very useful conclusions.”


On his part, Director, Chief of Staff, Global Growth and Opportunity, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Carol Welch said the partnership with Edo “will demonstrate what enhanced digital capability in the public sector can accomplish through building on the digital infrastructure in the state.”

Also, the Deputy Director, BMGF, Tijjani Mohammed said the government’s commitment to human capital development, health, and education, among others, has set Edo apart from other states of the federation and pledged the Foundation’s continued support to the transformation agenda of the state government.

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