Edo State, Italian Govt Seal Deal to Strengthen Socio-cultural, Economic Relationships

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has sealed a new partnership with the Italian government to strengthen sociocultural and economic relationships between both countries, advancing opportunities in agriculture, technology, tourism, and culture and facilitating cooperation in technical and vocational training, among others.

This was just as residents and business owners in Ugbiyoko, Benin City have commended Obaseki for the ongoing reconstruction of Ekenhuan Barracks Road, noting that the road which has now been tarred to the Ogede axis of the area has brought succour to the people of the locality.

The deal between Edo State and the Italian government was signed with the Veneto region of Italy on the sidelines of the 60th International Art Exhibition organised by La Biennale di Venezia where the governor served as the Commissioner of the Nigerian Pavilion.
The governor while signing the deal revealed the impact of his government’s impact on various sectors of the economy, noting that the state government is committed to exploring collaborations in culture, agriculture, technology, technical and vocational education with the Italian Government to empower youths in the state with the right skills to compete favourably globally.

The partnership is aimed at facilitating cooperation in technical and vocational training, advancing opportunities in the agricultural sector, enhancing Information Technology capacity, promoting tourism, increasing economic opportunities in the textile industry, and promoting social and cultural relationships between both countries.

According to Obaseki, “I have served as Governor of Edo State for over seven and a half years, and during this period, we have expanded the scope of our collaboration with the Italian government, spanning joint efforts in migration management, cultural collaboration, international exchanges, among others.
“Today, we are here to strengthen the bond of collaboration between the people of Edo State and the Veneto region. These would span across Culture, Agriculture, Technology, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
“These are key areas of focus of my government and we have made tremendous strides in strengthening institutions that advance these causes in Edo State over the last seven years.”

Stating his government’s achievements in the past seven and half years, Obaseki said, “In particular, our government embarked on wide-ranging reforms in the civil and public service that have dramatically improved service delivery ensuring that government institutions are not only responsive but that services are seamless with the use of digital technology. Edo today is the first State in Nigeria to go fully digital – all government business is conducted electronically.

“Aside these, we have advanced reforms in the Arts with the ongoing development of the Benin Cultural District and the construction of the Museum of West African Arts (MOWAA) in Benin City, which provides a space for interrogation of our State’s rich cultural heritage and allows our youth to reignite the spirit of creativity.

“In agriculture, we have the biggest oil palm development project in Africa with about 70,000 hectares of land under cultivation. Investment in food processing has also been on the rise in the State as we have two active ethanol plants on the verge of completion. All these are made possible by the efforts to boost investment inflow into the State, which has resulted in the state emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in Nigeria.”

On vocational education, Obaseki said the state has invested in expanding our vocational education institutions in the state to train best-grade technicians with support from international organisations, adding that a model institute is operational in Benin City and more are spread across the State, providing quality practical training to our youths.

“Through this effort, we are ensuring that our people are well skilled so that when they migrate, they are more useful in whatever society they find themselves in,” he noted.

Obaseki added that one of the most ambitious projects is the investment in technology infrastructure, which is intended to serve as the superstructure for our digital economy, adding “So far, we have completed the installation of fibre optic internet cables across the 18 local government areas of the State. These ensure that every part of the state is able to operate on high-speed internet.

The governor noted, “It is quite instructive that we have a considerable number of our people over here in Italy who have continued to promote the ethos of hard work, diligence and excellence.

“The rich history and art scene of Veneto mirrors the vast promise that Edo possesses. We are therefore building bridges to share success stories and collaborate on building a mutually beneficial relationship for the benefit of our people.

“We have come on a very interesting journey these past years and are happy to have had the people and government of Italy as worthy partners.”

He added, “We appreciate all that you have done and assure you that with the strengthened relationship forged today, we will achieve more in the quest of building a more impactful relationship for shared prosperity.”

Meanwhile, residents and business owners in Ugbiyoko, Benin City have commended Governor Obaseki for the ongoing reconstruction of Ekenhuan Barracks Road, noting that the road which has now been tarred to the Ogede axis of the area has brought succour to the people of the locality.

A cross-section of residents who spoke to journalists in Benin City, said the governor has continued to prioritise projects to improve economic activities in the State and better the lives of the people.

 A resident of the area, who was simply identified as Isoken, said that tarring the road has helped to boost the living conditions of the people in the area.

She said that those who were contemplating leaving the area have now jettisoned the idea.

She said, “The governor, Godwin Obaseki, has done well by resuming work on the road. Motorists can now move freely without fear of damaging their cars, while business has improved since the construction resumed.

James Osadolor, who sells building materials in the area, stated that business has improved in the area. He noted that those who abandoned their buildings have returned to site and are buying materials to continue their building project.

He said, “I am very happy that the government has resumed work on the road. I can tell you that business has improved and residents can now move freely to and fro their offices and places of businesses

“I will urge the government to complete the construction of the road before November so that the communities in this area can become developed like other areas in the state capital.”

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