Sanwo-Olu: Lagos GDP Up 50% in Five Years Under My Watch

Segun James

Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state, in the last five years under his administration, has risen by almost 50 per cent, surpassing the size of the GDPs of over 40 African countries.
Sanwo-Olu said economic prosperity recorded by Lagos State over the last two decades had shown the strength and potential that sub-national governments could offer in shaping the African growth narrative.

He told a transatlantic forum in Bahamas on Wednesday that with a strong focus on internal revenue generation and strategic partnerships with the central government and private investors, the state had demonstrated how a focused leadership at sub-national level could re-work a nation’s economic vision to create a sustainable growth pathway for the continent.

The governor, who delivered the closing speech at the third AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF 2024) in Nassau, addressed a large audience from Africa and Caribbean countries on the theme, “Global Africa, Global Lagos: The Role of Sub-Nationals in Driving the Global African Agenda.”
Former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, were among the global delegates attending the conference held simultaneously with the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had grown from being a state in deficit during the military era, to becoming a hub for investment and technological advancements.
He said factors responsible for the growth could be linked to the government’s effort to improve the “Ease of Doing Business” and the decision to leverage technology and entrepreneurial abilities of the state’s population.

Sanwo-Olu stated, “Lagos is an example of a unique African success story, shaped by an interesting mix of advantages and challenges. It is the smallest of Nigeria’s 36 states, yet is responsible for more than a third of Nigeria’s entire GDP.
“Lagos has grown to have a GDP that is greater than the GDPs of all but seven African countries. In the last five years, under my leadership, we have seen an almost 50 per cent increase in our GDP.

“Lagos presents a significant context on how sub-national governments are vital in writing new stories of development and advancing the economic agenda of the continent.
“I am proud to say that we in Lagos State have, indeed, mastered the art and science of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Having pioneered this private sector led development in Lagos, we are now exporting that template to other States across the country.
“Our growth stories speak to the importance of African solutions and African capacity for tackling African problems. As we work towards accomplishing our aspirations, it is clear that sub-sovereign entities, such as cities, states, provinces, regions, and municipalities, can be instrumental in translating African countries’ high-level goals into tangible outcomes.

“It is at this sub-national level that a lot of the most remarkable reforms and transformations are playing out.”
Sanwo-Olu illustrated how a set of locally envisioned economic ideas transformed Lagos to be the most viable state in the country, stressing that the state created a new economic city from a challenging environmental crisis.

He said the Eko Atlantic City project, which had since become a global model for environmental responsiveness and climate action, was one of the five key long-term initiatives developed by his predecessor, ex-Governor Bola Tinubu, now President, to create new economic opportunities for Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu listed the other initiatives to include establishment of Lekki Free Trade Zone, construction of the Lekki Deep Seaport, building of 10-lane West African Border Highway, construction of intra-city rail infrastructure, and leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit of young people. These, he said, had led to the building of a resilient economy for the state.

He added, “We have leveraged the power of the young people in driving creativity, innovation, and digital connectivity, which are critical pillars for economic prosperity.
“Lagos has, in the last decade, become a globally renowned hub for digital technology and innovation, and this is because of our young people, their energy, talent and enthusiasm.

“Through this, we have minted a number of fintech unicorns, like Interswitch, Paystack and Flutterwave. This ferment of innovation has not happened by chance. Even as they have been driven by immensely talented and entrepreneurial Nigerians, successive administrations in Lagos have paid close attention to these ecosystems, and worked to ensure an enabling environment, through various policies and incentives.”

Sanwo-Olu also shared the gains resulting from adoption of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), describing the trade initiative as “historic, revolutionary idea” seeking to unlock the full potential of free trade areas being created across Africa.

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