Oyebanji Seeks Belgium’s Partnership in Tech, Agric, Intellectual Capacity Devt

Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, has disclosed that his administration is building blocks for mutual bilateral relationships between the state and developed countries of the world in order to turn around the fortunes of its citizens.

Governor Oyebanji made this known during a meeting with the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Pieter Leenknegt, at the Belgium Embassy in Abuja yesterday where potential areas of collaboration were discussed. Governor Oyebanji, who was accompanied by the some state officials, including the Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Performance Management, Mr. Niyi Adebayo; and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akin Oyebode; DG Office of Partnership, Biodun Oyeleye, highlighted some critical areas of the state 30 -year development plan.

He noted that the state government has a clear vision of opportunities in the areas of ecosystem innovation, technology, renewable energy, environmental management and agricultural production and exportation as well as intellectual capacity development for wealth creation.

He said: “Our vision for Ekiti State is clear. Despite the various challenges, indices and factors being that we are landlocked, we are committed to exploring and leveraging opportunities in ecosystem innovation, technology, renewable energy, and agricultural production. Collaboration with developed nations is crucial for the actualisation of our 30-year development plan to ensure sustainable growth and prosperity for our people.”

The governor highlighted the state substantial investments in social programmes, commercial agriculture, and various intervention initiatives aimed at boosting the purchasing power of Ekiti’s citizens, stressing the necessity of international collaboration to fully realize the state’s ambitious 30-year development plan.

In his response, Ambassador Leenknegt acknowledged Ekiti State’s efforts, which he said align with global best practices and ECOWAS standards. He advised the state government to expedite the completion of the state airport to improve access and connectivity.

The diplomat commended the initiatives behind the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, noting its potential to transform local knowledge into wealth, expressing Belgium’s interest in partnering Ekiti State in areas such as communication technology, transportation, and tropical agriculture, including cocoa and palm kernel production as well as enhancing academic partnerships between Belgian institutions and universities in Ekiti State.

 “We recognise and appreciate the significant strides being made by the Ekiti State Government. The Ekiti Knowledge Zone is a remarkable initiative with the potential to turn local knowledge into wealth. Belgium is keen to explore collaboration in areas such as communication technology, transportation, and tropical agriculture, including cacao and palm kernel production,” the ambassador said.

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