Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Council on City Data (WCCD) to make Minna a Local Data Hub on Sustainability Solutions.
Bello signed the agreement with Dr. Patricia McCarney, President of the Council, at the Nigeria House in New York, alongside some members of Niger’s Cabinet, Nigeria Consulate General and Permanent Mission to the UN.
The agreement made Minna the only city in the West African sub-region and second only to Johannesburg in Africa to enter the Global Cities Registry and certified under ISO 37120.
The WCCD Local Data Hubs – launched at the United Nations on July 17 – is a global initiative that will drive the consolidation and collection of high calibre, globally comparable and standardized city data throughout the world.
Through the implementation of WCCD’s ISO 37120 standard globally, cities are better equipped to direct and inform investment, as well as localize global agendas such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Bello said the Local Data Hub would be pivotal to helping create a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive Minna and Niger.
He said his administration would serve as a good representative of Nigeria and the sub-region by ensuring that the state maintained its commitment to the objectives of the Council.
The governor said: “As one of the WCCD Local Data hubs, I want to assure the WCCD of our commitment to the objectives of the initiative.
“This is by ensuring other cities within Niger State join the WCCD reporting system and also serve as a very good representative in Nigeria and the sub-region.”
He stressed that the establishment of the Minna-WCCD Local Data Hub was the beginning of a new phase of the Council’s longstanding relationship with Minna.
“My presence here in New York with some cabinet members and technical staff, is to show our complete support and commitment to the selection of Minna as one of the first eight WCCD Local Data Hubs.
“I look forward to working with the World Council on City Data, and its sister organization, the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto, to improve the capacity of my staff and train our ever enthusiastic youthful population.”
Bello said the Hub’s initial mandate to help cities and communities throughout Niger create a culture of data, based on WCCD’s ISO 37120 standard, would be carried further throughout Nigeria and West Africa.
He underlined the importance of data in helping to not just build more sustainable communities, but also more resilient communities in light of recent flooding that resulted in loss of life.
“Minna is one of the 20 cities WCCD chose for this statistics and to take data from; at the end of the exercise, we’re going to have data alongside the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The data will help us towards preparing for infrastructure, health, agriculture and so many other things; without data, you’re not able to plan well.
“This MoU is the foundation for meaningful development and I’m very excited with the fact that Minna is one of the cities that the WCCD has decided to use as the platform for this survey.”
Speaking at the signing ceremony, McCarney highlighted the WCCD’s longstanding relationship with the state and the evolution of the relationship through the establishment of the Minna-WCCD Local Data Hub.
“Minna and Niger State have been long-term partners of the WCCD. As a WCCD Foundation City, Minna was essential in the effort to pilot ISO 37120.
“And moreover, Minna was one of the first cities to commit to this ambitious undertaking.
“The establishment of a WCCD Local Data Hub in Minna will continue to drive this cooperation, and further catalyze action throughout the city, the state, Nigeria and the African Continent.
“The high calibre, standardized and internationally comparable data that is generated through this Hub will help to drive infrastructure investment, while helping to build sustainable and more resilient communities throughout Niger state.”
The other local data hub foundation cities are Amsterdam, Amman, Barcelona, Bogota, Boston, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Guadalajara, Haiphong, Helsinki, London, Makati, Makkah, Melbourne, Rotterdam, Shanghai, and Toronto.