The Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL), Dr Amy Jadesimi says a sustainable special economic zone can transform low income high growth countries into global industrial and technology power houses.
Jadesimi was quoted to have said this shortly after she was given the P4G award for Sustainable Special Economic Zones by Systemic in New York, United States of America.
The award was given for LADOL’s work so far in developing plans and partnerships.
The award also recognises the company’s focus on transforming special economic zones in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya into vibrant hubs of low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive business and community growth.
According to her, the P4G platform is ideally suited to encouraging, incubating and launching the zones because, it focuses on equitable partnerships lead by local entrepreneurs and/or governments.
She said, “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 what will yield 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. We now need to see action in the form of new criteria for bankability and new financial products that make it possible to directly fund sustainable indigenous private companies, from the smallest to the largest, Jadesimi added.”
On the issue of financing, Jadesimi urged P4G to support a universally accepted rating or 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 will 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.”
According to the LADOL boss, “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 within countries in Africa.”
Regarding the ACFTA, Jadesimi reiterated her commitment to regional African collaboration, saying, she believes in a strong united free market African Union, where countries collaborate to build its local markets by sharing ideas, people, resources and markets.
She said, “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 industrialize Africa.”