Africa attraction

Lagos targets UK to showcase investment potential

Lagos: Open for business

The Nigerian state of Lagos is poised to capitalise on its historic achievement as the first official African participant in London’s Lord Mayor’s Show.

Lagos State and EnterpriseNGR, which promotes the growth and development of Nigeria’s financial and professional services sector as a catalyst for economic development, took part in the 805th year of London’s showpiece in a ground-collaboration aimed at positioning the Nigerian capital as Africa’s undisputed premier financial centre.

The ambitious move to to showcase Lagos on a world stage underscores a strategic approach and global aspiration to make the state one of the world’s most desirable investment destinations.

As Africa’s most populous and fastest growing city and Nigeria’s economic powerhouse, Lagos is a key investment destination.

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

It generates more than 50% of Nigeria’s port revenues and is a dynamic business environment and vibrant hub for innovation and technology.

Significant milestones achieved this year include starting Blue Line Rail, establishing the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, and a ground-breaking $100 million African Film City project in Epe.

Lagos state governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu, who took a key role at the event, said the key objective was to showcase its investment potential and elevate its position as a global investment destination.

He said: “Lagos has not come to London just for the parade and pageantry. This visit has a more strategic purpose as a prime opportunity to showcase Lagos on a global platform.

He said the newly-inaugurated Lagos International Financial Centre (LIFC) signifies not just an institutional milestone, but a commitment to a bold vision – positioning Lagos as the beacon of financial innovation in Africa.

Lagos State was invited to take part by new Lord Mayor of London, Professor Michael Mainelli in recognition of increasing economic prominence and commitment to excellence.

Building Bridges: Lord Mayor of London Prof Michael Mainelli and Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The invitation and participation align with the council’s mission to establish Lagos as a global financial hub, attracting investments that will fuel sustainable economic development.

Prof Mainelli said: “Lagos and Nigeria’s enduring history with the UK reflects a proud Commonwealth partnership since gaining independence in 1960.

“Nigeria is dedicated to fostering diplomatic and economic ties, presenting abundant investment opportunities in sectors such as oil, finance, technology, agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure.

“This resilient partnership, combined with Nigeria and Lagos’s commitment to growth, creates a promising landscape for UK investors eager to contribute to and benefit from the nation’s dynamic and expanding economy.”

Lagos now 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.

With attractions including a burgeoning middle class, tax holidays and a sound legal and regulatory framework that protects investments, Lagos provides a safe and secure business environment in a stable political setting.

It is home to four tech unicorns – Interswitch, Flutterwave, OPay and Andela – as well as leading financial and professional services players and fast-moving consumer goods companies.

Nigeria already has significant trade relations with the UK, which last year ranked as the top source of foreign direct investment into the African nation.

In the first quarter of this year, total trade in goods and services between the UK and Nigeria amounted to £7.6bn, an increase of 48% compared to the same period of 2022.

UK exports to Nigeria totalled £4.3bn, an increase of 32%, while UK imports from Nigeria added up to £3.3bn, up 78%.

Some 135,00 Londoners were born in Nigeria, a total second only to India, and the strong relationship between London and Nigeria also includes the 97 dual-listed companies.

The LIFC was launched in a strategic move to position the state as Africa’s premier international financial centre, attract investments, and stimulate economic growth.

Its council has a strategic mandate to attract global investors and ignite a wave of economic growth and innovation within the state and a new “InvestLagos” strategy to move the state further up the foreign investment agenda.

The LIFC is responsible for helping to create an enabling environment or local and international investors to thrive.

Its work includes streamlining regulatory processes, guiding on investor-friendly policies, ensuring the adoption of international best practices and collaborating with regulatory bodies.

In recent years, the Lagos State government has implemented reforms to simplify administrative procedures, reduce red tape and improve the ease of doing business.

A range of incentives, including tax breaks and investment-friendly policies, have been introduced to attract both local and international investors.

Infrastructure investments have also included the Lagos Rail Mass Transit project and the Lekki Deep Sea Port, one of the largest sea ports in West Africa.

Meanwhile, the African Film City, a hub for film production, post-production, visual effects and ancillary services that support film-making, is viewed as not just an investment but as a statement that Lagos is open for transformative ground-breaking projects that shape the future.

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