*Advocates Respect and Equality as key to Successful, Sustainable Partnerships
The Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Mrs. Gail Klintworth and Mr. Robbie Marwick from Systemiq have clinched the P4G award for sustainable special economic zones.
With an initial funding by the government of Denmark, P4G is a network of leaders from government, business and civil society working to accelerate green growth in many of the 150 developing countries across the world.
Jadesimi’s award was hinged on LADOL’s work especially in developing plans and partnerships focused on transforming special economic zones in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya into vibrant hubs of low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive business and community growth.
The award ceremony took place after a morning session during which Jadesimi presented LADOL’s past, current and future plans to the international audience of business leaders attending the P4G Acceleration Workshop.
Speaking at the occasion, she said: “Sustainable Special Economic Zones can transform low income high growth countries into global industrial and technology power houses, creating millions of jobs in the process. The P4G platform is ideally suited to encouraging, incubating and launching these Zones because it focuses on equitable partnerships lead by local entrepreneurs and/or governments”.
According to her, 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.
She however stated that both local and international funding were not yet going where it should particularly in terms of the what will yield the highest return to investors.
She averred that it was now an incontrovertible fact that sustainability equals profitability pointing out that she was 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 now financial products that make it possible to directly fund sustainable indigenous private companies, from the smallest to the largest”, she added.
Jadesimi urged P4G to support a universally accepted rating/benchmarking system for sustainability that will enable investors to include sustainability in credit rating analysis as a key criterion.
She argued that even if sustainable companies do not meet the currently 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.
According to her, 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. 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, i.e. countries in Africa.
On ACFTA, Jadesimi reiterated her strong commitment to regional African collaboration just as she added: “I believe in a strong united free market AU, where African countries collaborate to build our local markets by sharing ideas, people, resources and markets. 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.”
She explained that innovation must be done in our local markets pointing out that 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 industrialise Africa.