The Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base, LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi has stated that Sustainable Special Economic Zones can transform low income high growth countries into global industrial and technology power houses, creating millions of jobs in the process.
Jadesimi stated this at the P4G Acceleration Workshop in New York, USA last week as she received the P4G award for Sustainable Special Economic Zones in recognition of the LADOL’s work in developing plans and partnerships focused on transforming special economic zone in Nigeria into vibrant hub of low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive business and community growth.
According to Dr Jadesimi in her presentation, “Sustainable Special Economic Zones can transform low income high growth countries into global industrial and technology power houses, creating millions of jobs in the process. The P4G platform is ideally suited to encouraging, incubating and launching these Zones because it focuses on equitable partnerships lead by local entrepreneurs and/or governments.
“Over the next decade, countries like Nigeria can make a huge contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals if the local private sector companies that are building capacity and adding value sustainably, are supported. This support must come in the form of financing. Nigeria has sufficient capital available locally to get the ball rolling and transform thousands of small to large companies into significant market players.
‘’However, both local and international funding is not yet going where it should particularly in terms of the what will yield the highest return to investors. It is now an incontrovertible fact that sustainability equals profitability. I’m encouraged to see the shift in the global investment community towards ESG and sustainable investments as a preferred asset class. However, we now need to see action in the form of new criteria for bankability and now financial products that make it possible to directly fund sustainable indigenous private companies, from the smallest to the largest.”
On the issue of financing, Dr. Jadesimi urged P4G to support a universally accepted rating/benchmarking system for sustainability that will enable investors to include sustainability in credit rating analysis as a key criterion. Even if sustainable companies do not meet the currently popular but highly restrictive and negative yielding definitions of bankability, this new benchmark would ensure that the right companies get funding and that their investors benefit from higher returns. Private indigenous companies in high growth / low income countries are suitable investment vehicles.
“LADOL has already started diversifying and targeting a range of clients from agriculture to general manufacturing and green energy companies. We want to attract the brightest companies and people into LADOL to partner, engineer and manufacture new industrial solutions for the world’s fastest growing markets, i.e. countries in Africa,” she said.
Regarding the ACFTA Dr. Jadesimi reiterated her strong commitment to regional African collaboration: “I believe in a strong united free market AU, where African countries collaborate to build our local markets by sharing ideas, people, resources and markets. Strong Governments in African countries and indigenous private companies will then be in a position to form equitable international partnerships, based on an alignment of incentives, mutual respect and shared long-term vision.”
“Innovation must be done in our local markets – LADOL is investing in creating an environment where a wide range of local entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators can design solutions in Nigeria for Nigeria – let’s industrialise Africa.”