Lagos became the federal capital of Nigeria on 11 April 1968 and remained so until 1991 when the seat of government was moved to Abuja. With an estimated GDP of $136,6 billion and contributing 25 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP as of August 2015, Lagos has continued to remain the commercial capital of the country.
Professor Ademola Abass, special adviser to Lagos state governor and who heads the Overseas Affairs office (popularly called Lagos Global), explains that Lagos is home to a rapidly growing middle class and commands the highest standard of living in the country.
According to him, 61% of Nigeria’s millionaires live in the emerging megacity. Coincidentally, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, as well as other Nigerian billionaires on Forbes’ rich list also operate from Lagos.
Professor Abass says the high purchasing power of the population gives the city the ability to absorb any product or service brought into the state. Therefore, he says, investors are welcome to invest in the state. There are more than 120 South African businesses operating in Nigeria, and experts say more SA investors are expected to latch on to investment opportunities in Lagos.
“At Lagos Global, we aim to provide a first-class service delivery to investors, right from the point of initial enquiry down to the setting up and running of businesses in Lagos State,” Professor Abass says. “Our goal is to eliminate difficulties associated with multi-agency handling of investments.”
The Lagos Global office was created in May 2015 to ensure that investors who would like to invest in the city enjoy a seamless experience, without obstacles. It was established to serve as a one-stop shop for promoting and dealing with all domestic and foreign investments in the state.
Lagos has the most developed physical infrastructure in Nigeria. For instance, the Murtala Muhammed Airport located in the city is the busiest airport in West Africa, with more than six million passengers travelling through it annually. It’s ranked fifth to OR Tambo airport in South Africa, the busiest in Africa with about 18 million passengers annually.
About 60% of industrial investments in Nigeria come into Lagos. About 90% of companies in Nigeria across most industries have chosen to locate their headquarters in Lagos. All the commercial banks in the country except one also have their headquarters in the city.
Of the Fortune 100 companies in the world, 18 operate in Lagos. They include MTN, Shoprite, Citibank, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Mobil, Shell, DHL and Etisalat. Others are Four Points by Sheraton, AccorHotels, Mango, Unilever, KFC, Spar and Diageo. Investment opportunities still exist in real estate, retail, power, e-commerce, transportation, health, waste management and entertainment. “New investors are able to benefit from the environment already created by previous investors,” Professor Abass adds