Amy Jadesimi, managing director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), has called for new global financial regulations to encourage investment in businesses that would create long-time as well as stable wealth for populace.
Such wealth, she stated, can be created through trading and complex financial instruments that no longer relate to the real performance of the underlying companies or assets.
“A regulatory framework would drive investment to Africa – which has both the youngest and the most locally under-served population, with vast untapped opportunities to create new products and solutions for the local market,” Jadesimi stated at the OECD Africa Forum.
According to her, countries like Nigeria are full of untapped, easily addressable business opportunities that can create new low cost, high return businesses through innovation and value-added solutions for the local market.
She noted that the companies of the future and the most profitable companies are those that are sustainable, adding that companies that fail to embrace sustainability may soon become unviable.
She stated that success of LADOL has proven the efficacy of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a framework for the development of new economy businesses and for maximising local content in low income high growth countries.
The LADOL boss however cautioned that the road to sustainably industrialise Africa will be a long one but that it will inevitably lead to peace and prosperity for the continent and the world.
“The first step is to get international support from governments and investors because they were companies that will create the jobs. Over time, organisations such as LADOL, which can support commodity focused industries will diversify and expand, and become increasingly sustainable until we reach net zero,” she said.
Jadesimi also urged Western countries to better regulate the actions of their companies and institutions in Africa – where many multinationals have been proven to instigate, promote and participate in practices that cause harm to the economies and the citizens in countries across Africa.
“In as much as we recognise threat the regulatory environment across Africa needs to improve, we should not continue to have conversations about regulation in Africa unless we also discuss how wealthier countries can better use their own laws and regulations to police the activities of their companies and representatives in Africa,” she said.
While stating that financial regulation is long overdue stating that there are trillions of dollars currently invested in low yielding assets in only 10 financial markets across the world.
She hopes to see the development of a “sustainability credit” rating – that will be universally accepted and give investors the ability to invest in market driven business models.
This, according to her, will channel funding into new companies with the potential to transform Africa, but which could never meet today’s definitions of “bankability” as applied in Africa.
“This was critically important as none of the largest companies in the world today would exist if they had to fund their companies from inception based on high hurdles which African companies are being forced to adhere to and scale.”
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), she said that it was only good for Africa if countries in Africa insist on real local content being adhered to, meaning that “we need the products and services being traded in the Africa Free Market to be primarily if not entirely home engineered and manufactured.
“International companies can start engineering and manufacturing in Africa now, not only because they will get access to1.5 billion Africans, but also because there are local and public sector companies and facilities through which they can set-up and operate locally,” she said.