Good morning, Mrs. Hammond. Thank you for joining us today. Could you please introduce yourself and explain your role within the Lagos State Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investment?
Good morning, thank you for having me. My name is Mrs. Solape Hammond, and I serve as the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Lagos State on SDGs and Investment. My role within the Lagos State Office of SDGs and Investment involves promoting investment in the state while ensuring alignment with the SDGs.
Could you provide an overview of the responsibilities of your agency and its role in investment promotion?
Certainly. Our agency plays a crucial role in various aspects of investment promotion. We aim to position Lagos State as an attractive investment opportunity by providing comprehensive information to potential investors. This includes showcasing the state’s potential and advantages, assisting investors throughout their investment journey, creating a favorable business environment, and facilitating trade opportunities. Additionally, we emphasize the importance of aligning investments with the SDGs to promote sustainable development.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in your work?
Throughout our journey, we have faced several challenges. Firstly, coordinating and integrating various tasks within our relatively new organisation has been a challenge. We had to develop frameworks to ensure effective coordination and avoid any territorial concerns. Additionally, managing high expectations from numerous businesses and stakeholders in Lagos State has been a challenge. Balancing their expectations while staying focused on our objectives has required careful navigation. Limited access to comprehensive information about the state’s various sectors was also initially challenging. However, we have worked to gather and provide holistic data for potential investors. Lastly, enhancing our brand visibility and communication channels has been a challenge, but one that we are actively addressing.
Partnership with GIZ SEDIN
How has the GIZ programme Pro-poor growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria-SEDIN supported your agency’s efforts in investment promotion?
SEDIN has been a valuable partner in driving investment promotion across Lagos State. Their support has been instrumental in several areas. Firstly, in collaboration with SEDIN we conducted a comprehensive policy audit, focusing on small businesses and female-led enterprises, which resulted in key recommendations for improving the business environment. SEDIN also provided a technical advisor who supported staff capacity building, implementation of policy audit recommendations, and the ongoing establishment of a physical one-stop shop. SEDIN further assisted in developing an investment incentives framework and supported Lagos State in order to qualify as an investment-ready state under the Nigerian Investment Certification Programme for States (NICPS). They continue to provide ongoing support through various activities, including research and workshops.
What impact has the support from SEDIN had on your agency’s work?
The support from SEDIN has had a significant impact on our agency’s work. Firstly, our communication and visibility have improved, thanks to the enhancement of our website and social media presence. We are now able to showcase a broader range of investment projects and talent present in Lagos State. The policy interventions facilitated by GIZ have also yielded positive outcomes, aligning with the recommendations from the policy audit. Furthermore, the presence of a technical advisor has enhanced our staff’s capacity and effectiveness in fulfilling their roles.
How have digital tools and solutions been utilised to enhance your agency’s activities and performance?
We have embraced various digital tools and solutions to enhance our organisational activities and performance. Our website and social media platforms have been improved to better promote investment opportunities in Lagos State. We are also implementing a workflow process to streamline approvals and communications with other ministries and agencies. Additionally, we are in the process of acquiring Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to facilitate the investment process. To enhance staff training and development, we plan to implement a Learning Management System (LMS). Furthermore, we are working towards establishing a virtual one-stop shop to provide seamless services to investors.
Overall, what is your impression of the support provided by SEDIN?
The support provided by SEDIN has been overwhelmingly positive and invaluable to our organisational processes. We greatly appreciate the partnership and the achievements we have made together. The partnership allowed us to participate in a pan-African peer learning process integrated into the investment readiness program which has been particularly helpful. SEDIN has demonstrated exceptional openness, flexibility, and acceptance throughout the collaboration. Their leadership, engagement, and provision of resources and expertise have contributed to the success of our partnership. SEDIN has a fantastic contact person in Lagos. The head of the SEDIN Policy component has also been very engaged and a core resource in this process while the head of programme has shown great leadership. Overall, this has been a great team effort.
Are there any suggestions for improvement or additional areas where GIZ could support your agency?
Considering the exceptional support we have received, it is challenging to identify areas for improvement. SEDIN’s unique approach of aligning with our objectives and allowing us to shape the agenda has been highly effective. One potential addition could be exploring co-investment opportunities and pilots, particularly in the area of infrastructure, although this may fall beyond SEDIN’s remit. Overall, we value the partnership and appreciate the exceptional work, openness, and commitment demonstrated by the SEDIN team.
What are the capacity needs of your agency moving forward?
While we have a skilled and diverse team, we currently lack a significant number of in-house investment professionals. The presence of a technical advisor from SEDIN has been invaluable, and having additional technical advisors would be beneficial, especially as we prepare to establish the aforementioned physical one-stop shop. Additionally, managing the perception of Lagos State and creating a positive image for investment remains a challenge. We also require data and tangible facts and figures for other planned activities, such as the African Continental Free Trade Strategy and a competitiveness assessment. Overall, we would love to continue the successful partnership with SEDIN as they have been instrumental in our progress.