• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lagos takes hunt for investors to London’s oldest annual event

Sanwo-Olu hails A/Court’s affirmation of his election victory

…Inaugurates Lagos International Financial Centre Council

Lagos State in collaboration with private sector advocacy group, EnterpriseNGR, are set to make history as the first African participants invited to join the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Show, the oldest annual event in London.

The key objective of this historic participation in the Lord Mayor’s Show, which dates back to the 13th century, is to showcase the investment potential of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, and to elevate the State as a global investment destination, according to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The show takes place on Saturday, November 11. The annual event celebrates the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London and usually involves a grand procession of floats, bands, horses, and other participants, as well as a fireworks display in the evening.

“Lagos is not just going to London for the parade and pageantry; this visit has a more strategic purpose,” Sanwo-Olu said in a meeting with journalists at the Lagos house, Ikeja.

“This is a prime opportunity to showcase Lagos on a global platform,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The ground-breaking collaboration between Lagos State and EnterpriseNGR is built on their shared goal of positioning Lagos as Africa’s premier financial centre.

To actualize this, Lagos State has also inaugurated the Lagos International Financial Centre (LIFC) Council, in partnership with EnterpriseNGR – a member-led advocacy group that promotes the growth and development of Nigeria’s Financial and Professional Services (FPS) sector as a catalyst for economic development.

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With the LIFC Council leading the charge, and in line with its strategic mandate, to not only attract global investors but also to ignite a wave of economic growth and innovation within the state, Lagos aims to captivate global investors, unveil its potential as an investment destination of choice, and pave the way for a transformative era of economic prosperity.

According to Sanwo-Olu, “The newly inaugurated LIFC Council signifies not just an institutional milestone, but a commitment to a bold vision—positioning Lagos as the beacon of financial innovation in Africa.”

In the coming weeks, Sanwo-Olu said he and the LIFC Council will engage in strategic one-on-one and bilateral meetings with key UK-based businesses, investors, government officials, and Nigerians in the diaspora, all with one message: “Lagos is open for business. Come and invest in Africa’s economic powerhouse.”

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, EnterpriseNGR’s Chairman, who joins the Governor as Co-Chair of the Council said ‘EnterpriseNGR’s membership of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres puts us in good stead to ensure global best practices and competitiveness of the Lagos International Financial Centre.”

“EnterpriseNGR stands as a catalyst for transformative change in Nigeria’s Financial and Professional Services sector and our vision extends beyond advocacy; it’s a commitment to incentivise investments that go beyond financial gains,” Imoukhuede said.

“As we embark on this historic delegation to showcase Lagos on the global stage, we recognise the profound significance of attracting investments. Investment isn’t merely a transaction; it’s a catalyst for job creation, driving sustainable development and fostering a symbiotic relationship between investors, the State, and the communities at large,” Imoukhuede added.

Read also: Nigeria back on investors’ radar as interest rates jump, CBN clears backlog

Obi Ibekwe, CEO EnterpriseNGR said “The inauguration of the Lagos International Financial Centre (LIFC) Council is a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering strategic partnerships that contribute to the economic prosperity of Lagos and Nigeria.”

“Our participation at the Lord Mayor’s show is an extension of welcoming hands to not just the UK audience but to the world at large with a clear message that Lagos is Open for Business. This delegation is a testament to our unwavering dedication to the larger vision of a prosperous and interconnected ecosystem and a Greater Lagos,” Ibekwe added.

Lagos contributes more than 30 percent to Nigeria’s GDP, accounts for about 60 percent of the country’s energy demand, and is responsible for 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign trade flow.

It generates over 50 percent of Nigeria’s port revenues, and a remarkable 70 percent of the state revenue is internally generated. It boasts of a dynamic business environment, as well as a vibrant hub for innovation and technology, with a burgeoning tech ecosystem that rivals global counterparts.

The State has achieved significant milestones in 2023, including the commencement of the Blue Line Rail, the establishment of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, and the ground-breaking for the $100 million African Film City project in Epe.

Private sector investors have also thrived in the state with Lagos being home to four tech unicorns, leading Financial and Professional Services players, FMCG companies and the largest single train refinery in the world.

With attractions like tax holidays, access to a large market and gateway to other African markets, a burgeoning middle class, and a sound legal and regulatory framework that protects investments, Lagos provides a safe and secure business environment in a stable political setting.