- Lagos Admitted Into World’s 100 Resilient Cities
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Tuesday received the Certificate of Admission of the state as one of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) in the world pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, saying that it was a starting point and a positive partnership that would help the state address the challenges of urban planning, transport gridlock, environment and modern infrastructure.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the presentation of the certificate held at the Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, said the development was not only historic in the annals of the State but a confirmation that the efforts to build a globally competitive state had received international recognition.
The governor said it was gratifying to note that despite the challenges faced by the state in many areas including transportation, security, ocean surge, flooding, high unemployment rate, pressure on physical and social infrastructure, growth of slums and a huge housing deficit, Lagos remained resilient and ever progressive.
While alluding to the objective of his administration to make every community in Lagos economically liveable and stem rural-urban flight, the governor said deliberate initiatives have been put in place to address the housing deficit, transport challenges and economic development, among others.
He said: “We acknowledge these challenges and needs; and now as a member of the 100 resilient cities of the world, we have a platform to compare notes with cities who have similar experiences and create innovative and mitigating strategies.
“Lagos is currently home to about 23 million inhabitants with an estimated 86 people moving into Lagos every hour. This creates challenges of managing a daily increase in human and vehicular movement,” he said.
The governor, who said that resilience had always been part of the Lagos story, said despite the fact that the State remained the smallest state in Nigeria by geographical size, it is the largest by population and economic power.
He particularly recalled the manner with which Lagos contained the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2015 and secured residents from a terrible epidemic.
While speaking on the plans for the state, Governor Ambode said his administration was currently in partnership with the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to upgrade 2 blighted settlements in Bariga and Amukoko.
“We have initiated many interventions all over the State to shorten road travel time and we are in talks with the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) to introduce rail transportation in the Ikoyi-Lekki corridor.
We have also engaged in massive road construction and opening-up of our rural communities, continuous clearance of drainages and the upgrade and construction of Primary Health Care Centers (PHCs). Our objective is to make every community in Lags economically liveable and stem rural-urban flight.
“In response to the high unemployment figures, we created the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to provide cheap source of funding to our young entrepreneurs and SME’s. The Fund started disbursement to beneficiaries in December 2016 and more funds will be made available to in the coming months to stimulate economic activity and get more of our young people employed.
“The ocean surge is a huge challenge and the Lagos State Government in partnership with notable investors have invested in the development of Eko Atlantic City to not only contain the ocean surge but to deliver a new city which will be a future financial, commercial and tourism centre,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade said the selection of Lagos among the 100 Resilient Cities was sign post of a new dawn for the State in terms of ability to adapt to some of the risks and shocks it may be exposed to and how to effectively treat and overcome them.
He recalled how Governor Ambode issued a directive in August 2016 for commencement of process for Lagos to be selected, adding that the feat, apart from taking the delivery of electoral promises a notch higher in terms of concrete and measurable deliverables to the citizenry, would also compliment the vision of the present administration to make Lagos Africa’s model mega city of choice.
Earlier, President of 100 Resilient Cities, Mr. Michael Berkowitz said out of the over 1,000 applications received and three rounds of selection process, Lagos was chosen for its innovative leadership, infrastructural strides and influential status not just in Africa but in the world.
He said the organisation, by the initiative, was hoping to help cities change the way they think about their resilient opportunities and to see an integration between challenges.
“Sometimes cities think about transport, just about moving people; housi
ng, just about housing people; economic development, just about creating jobs but cities get better when they think about those things in an inter-related way.
“We are trying to inspire a movement across the world to change the way cities approach their risks and opportunities and so Lagos is not just the most influential city in West Africa or the continent but around the world and that was very appealing to us,” Berkowitz said.
The Governor later signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mayor of Paynesville, Liberia, Mrs Cyvette Gibson, which would facilitate information sharing around resilience in the two cities with the view to bring about economic development.
Global Digital Consumer Spent $900B In 2020 – Mastercard
According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.
For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.
Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.
“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”
Venmo Launches Cryptocurrency Trading
Venmo, owned by PayPal, is launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
This service set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as its stable coin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”
WeWork Starts Accepting Cryptocurrency as Form of Payment
WeWork, the leading flexible space provider, has announced that it will begin servicing a new economy by accepting payment in select cryptocurrencies.
In partnership with BitPay and Coinbase, the company will expand its flexibility by utilizing cryptocurrency for inbound and outbound transactions.
Through BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment service provider, WeWork will accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), Paxos (PAX), and several other cryptocurrencies as payment for its offerings. WeWork will also hold the currency on its balance sheet. The company will pay landlords and third-party partners in cryptocurrencies where applicable through Coinbase, a WeWork member and the largest U.S. cryptocurrency trading platform.
In addition, Coinbase will be the first WeWork member to use cryptocurrency to pay for its WeWork membership. As a leader in the fintech sector, Coinbase’s decision to pay WeWork in cryptocurrency demonstrates the growing demand for flexible and easy-to-use payment options.
Understanding this growing demand for optionality and convenience, WeWork has accelerated its focus on leveraging technology to take flexibility to the next level. In 2020, WeWork digitized its real estate portfolio with the release of its WeWork On Demand and WeWork All Access products, enabling members to choose when, where, and how they work.
WeWork CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, said: “WeWork’s strength is in our ability to evolve and best meet the diverse needs of our members around the world. As our member base continues to grow in the fintech sector, so will our ability to adapt to their needs and service a new economy. WeWork has always been at the forefront of innovative technologies, finding new ways to support our members. It only makes sense for us to expand on the optionality we provide by adding cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment for our members.”
WeWork Chairman and Softbank Group International CEO, Marcelo Claure, said: “When we think about the workplace of the future and business, we have to consider cryptocurrency a central part of that conversation. Cryptocurrency helps build a stronger global economy and WeWork’s announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment not only to innovation but also to being a globally-focused business. WeWork’s ability to provide members with an additional convenient means of payment is hugely exciting. I am very pleased that WeWork is taking steps to recognize the value this technology can provide our current and future members.”
CEO of BitPay, Stephen Pair, said: “BitPay believes crypto is the future of fintech and payments and our goal is to transform how businesses and people send, receive, and store money. WeWork is giving their customers an innovative payment option that is cheaper and easier than credit cards and taps a community valued at over $2 trillion.”
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