The United States Consul General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, led a delegation comprising representatives of the America Business Council and United States Consulate General Lagos to assess the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) and under-construction Lekki Deep Sea Port.
The purpose of the visit was to review the benefits of the initiatives for U.S. businesses and showcase those that have already availed themselves to them.
As Consul General Pierangelo stated in her remarks: “There are many challenges that businesses face here in Nigeria, but the Free Zone and Lekki Deepwater Sea Port represent great strides forward. These projects have, very systematically and thoughtfully, created an enabling environment where many other businesses can thrive.”
Consul General Pierangelo commended the leadership of Tolaram Group, the promoter of LFZ, for embarking on such an “amazing and very ambitious project,” which has the capacity to transform the Nigerian economy and unlock new opportunities for global trade in sub-Saharan Africa.
She concluded by reiterating the commitment of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria to facilitate U.S. investments in Nigeria for the mutual benefit of both nations and promised to continue to engage relevant stakeholders to continue the push toward a business-friendly Nigeria.
Mr. Dipo Faulkner, President of the American Business Council, also addressed the delegation. Alluding to Tolaram Group’s joint ventures, he remarked that Kellogg’s and Colgate-Palmolive were “two key America brands thriving in Nigeria despite the numerous business challenges” and encouraged more U.S. companies to see the LFZ as a solution to overcoming these challenges.
Mr. Dinesh Rathi, CEO of the Tolaram Group expressed his appreciation to Consul General Pierangelo and her entire delegation for the visit. He continued to state that the company will conduct business for the benefit of both Nigeria and its stakeholders in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. He urged the Nigerian government to intensify its efforts to boost the viability of foreign businesses within the country.
The $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port and associated LFZ is an integral part of the federal and state governments’ effort to capture trade in West Africa. The first phase of the port is scheduled to become operational in 2022. It sits on over 350 hectares located approximately 65km east of Lagos, well-positioned to serve all parts of the country and the West African region. Upon completion, the port will have a container terminal covering an area of 50 hectares with two container berths capable of accommodating ultra large ships transporting over 14,000 containers.
Other key personnel on the delegation included Ashish Khemka (CFO FTZ); Prem Krishna (Head Marketing, FTZ); Mark Stuart (Project Manager, Louis Berger); Jennifer Woods (U.S. Commercial Counselor), David Russell (U.S. Commercial Attaché); Margaret Olele (CEO of ABC); Wole Abayomi (KPMG); Uwa Osa-Oboh (Capital Alliance); John Edokpolo (Microsoft); Sola Obabori (RedStar); Abdelaziz Saidu (Cisco); Womo Diriyal (Duns and Bradstreet); Rita Amuchienwa (Intel); Abi Ahmed Haruna (Oracle); and Kofo Ayodele (Abbott).