The Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL),Dr Amy Jadesimi, has urged Nigeria to sustain special economic zones in order to transform low income, spur industrial growth and create employment.
She made the suggestion on Wednesday in Lagos when she received a P4G award for Sustainable Special Economic Zones (SSEZ) alongside Gail Klintworth and Robbie Marwick from Systemiq.
Jadesimi also presented LADOL’s past, current and future plans to the international audience of business leaders that attended the P4G acceleration workshop.
She further explained that the P4G platform is preferably suitable in encouraging, incubating and launching these zones because it focuses on equitable partnerships led by local entrepreneurs or governments.
According to her, countries like Nigeria can make a huge contribution over the next decade, to achieve 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 to yield the highest return to investors,” she said.
She also noted that sustainability, equals profitability, pointed out the need to see the shift in the global investment community towards sustainable investments as a preferred asset class.
“We now need to see action in the form of new criteria for bankability and financial products that make it possible to directly fund sustainable indigenous private companies, from the smallest to the largest,” she said.
“If sustainable companies do not meet the 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 and low income countries are suitable investment vehicles,” she said.
The director further explained that the SEZ has already started diversifying and targeting a range of clients from agriculture to general manufacturing and green energy companies.
Jadesimi however, urged P4G to support a universally accepted rating and benchmarking system for sustainability that will enable investors to include sustainability in credit rating analysis.
She however, added that the company wants to attract the brightest companies, people into LADOL to partner, engineer and manufacture new industrial solutions for the world’s fastest growing markets in Africa.
“To benefit from AfCFTA, 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 industrialize Africa,” she advised.