With a population of over 1.2 Billion people and national endowments, Africa has all it takes to be a great continent. Ironically, despite her abundant human and material resources, the continent is still being assessed based on her potentials rather than actual contribution to the global economy.
The 21st century therefore presents another opportunity for us to develop lasting solutions to our challenges and join the mainstream of the global economy by leveraging on our competitive advantage.
As a role model mega city, Lagos State is strategically positioned to play a leading role in propelling development on the continent. As we speak, Lagos State is the 5th largest economy and fastest growing city in Africa with a population of over 22 million people comprising overwhelming proportion of middle class income earners.
In Nigeria, Lagos contributes 30% of the nation’s GDP and also the leading contributor to the non-oil sector GDP. It accounts for over 60% of the country’s industrial and commercial activities; over 70% of national maritime cargo freight; over 80% of international aviation traffic, and over 50% of Nigeria’s energy consumption.
Also, Lagos is the nexus of Nigeria’s section of Trans-African Highway which is being boosted by our enormous investment on the expansion of the Lagos Badagry Expressway, the primary ECOWAS highway, into 10-Lanes with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the first light rail metro transit in West Africa. With these and the State’s 180km Atlantic waterfront criss-crossed by maze of creeks and lagoons, Lagos is an investment and tourist delight.
Our policy objectives are based on a tripod of security, infrastructural development and job creation. This is further driven by our desire to build a sustainable economy that is minimally dependent on federal allocation, a private sector driven economy that, through a local and foreign direct investment haven.
Towards this end, we have pursued in less than two years of our administration; a governance structure that is primarily and essentially focused on creating an enabling environment for economic growth, job/wealth creation through friendly policies and incentives (Ease of Doing Business).
One of such policies which has and continues to make incredible impact in terms of gaining investors’ confidence is the establishment of the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global). It is a one-stop-shop that has simplified official processes and procedures leading to a significant reduction in the time that it takes to conclude transactions with government.
We have demonstrated serious commitment to the issue of safety and security of lives and property. Our effort in this area was recently acknowledged with the recognition of the security outfit (Rapid Response Squad) as the most effective and efficient in Africa.
Our judicial process has also been adjudged as the most progressive and modern in Nigeria. This is a result of the various reforms that were initiated to facilitate quick, just and fair adjudicatory process rooted in the rule of law. Lagos State hosted a summit on Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria. The objective of this summit was to generate ideas that will align our laws with the realities of technology-driven 21st century.
As a result of the growing investors’ confidence, Lagos State is fast becoming a preferred destination for investors in Africa. As a matter of fact, the aggregate of Foreign Direct Investment that had been attracted to Lagos State in the past 16 months is more that was achieved in the last 10 years.
Lagos State is open for business. We are willing, able and ready to partner with investors within and outside the continent. I therefore look forward to welcoming you to Lagos State and providing all the support that will be necessary to facilitate investment decisions within a business friendly climate.
By Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode
Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria.