Forum 2017



Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have played and continue to play significant roles in the growth, development and industrialization of many economies the world over. There is no doubt that SMEs in Nigeria have great potentials and capacity to stimulate the desired growth and development of the economy if well nurtured and galvanized. SMEs have performed below expectations in Nigeria due to a combination of problems which ranges from attitude and habits of SMEs themselves through environmental related factors, instability of governments and frequent government policy changes and somersaults.

The top ten problem areas of SMEs in Nigeria include poor management, inadequate finance, infrastructural deficit, government policy inconsistencies and bureaucracy, environmental factors, multiple taxes and levies, inaccessibility to modern technology, unfair competition, marketing problems and non-availability of raw materials locally.

SME development cuts across sectors involve multiple stakeholders and necessitate concerted actions by the public and private sectors. Indeed, the task of building, potentiating and positioning SMEs as an elixir and pivot of economic growth and development requires the efforts of all stakeholders, especially the government and financial institutions.


DATE: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
VENUE: Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos State

REGISTRATION: 9:00 am prompt.


This year’s conference shall be facilitated by very distinguished personalities who have recorded milestone achievements in their careers with immense contributions to the growth and development of the economy and SMEs in particular.

Mr. Tony O. Elumelu CON, Chairman, Heirs Holdings will present the Keynote Paper that will form the fulcrum of discussions at the Forum.

Prof. Charles Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, will Chair the occasion with Mrs. Ibokun Awosika, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria as Guest of Honour.

Development partners, policymakers, academia, and leading civil society organizations within and outside the country shall make significant contributions with inputs from key sectors of the economy.


The main objectives of the 24th Annual LAPO Development Forum are:

  • Identify and analyze the most effective and efficient way through which small scale enterprises could be financed and promoted in Nigeria
  • Provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, development partners, academia, policymakers and all relevant stakeholders to interact on how to galvanize SMEs for the growth and development of the economy.
  • Create enabling legal, regulatory and administrative environments for SMEs to thrive in Nigeria
  • Provide information on youth employment and participation in Nigeria’s SME sector
  • Strengthen SME capacity to improve their competitiveness in domestic, regional and global markets.
  • Achieve poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth and development through SMEs development


  • The outcome of the Forum would be a well-documented report containing presentations, discussions, major conclusions and recommendations, capable of providing a realistic road map for achieving a vibrant SMEs sector armed with the wherewithal to drive Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
  • Enhance implementation of existing policies


  • Government officials and Agencies
  • Policy Makers and Regulatory Agencies
  • Development Banks and Multinational corporations
  • International and regional inter-governmental organisations
  • Multi-lateral and bi-lateral Organisations
  • Commercial, Microfinance Banks and Institutions
  • Private Equity Investors and Venture Capitalists
  • Donor Agencies
  • Foreign missions in Nigeria
  • Domestic and international donor & funding agencies
  • Cooperative Bodies and Individuals.
  • Trade Groups and Professional Associations
  • The Academia


The Annual LAPO Development Forum was initiated in 1994 and has become a faculty of development in its own right. The annual conferencing has stimulated discourse on the development agenda in Nigeria and Africa with very realistic solutions canvassed by guest lecturers and conferees.

The Forum provides a veritable platform for stakeholders to discuss and proffer pragmatic solutions to identified issues in poverty and development. Participants usually include partners in development, government agencies and institutions, policymakers, the academia, religious, traditional and professional bodies, the media, civil society organizations, with inputs from key sectors of the economy.

The theme of the first edition of the Annual LAPO Development Forum held in 1994 was “The Nigerian Economy and the Poor: 1984-1994”. Discussions and conclusions at this session reinforced our belief that a sustainable approach to poverty alleviation must go beyond charity and be directed at strengthening the income capacity of the poor. Subsequent editions of the Forum addressed pertinent issues.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR chaired as well as delivered the keynote speech at the 23rd edition of the LAPO Forum with the theme: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities..


  • The Annual LAPO Development Forum has over the years provided stakeholders the needed platform to interact and proffer realistic solutions to the crucial problem of poverty and under-development in Nigeria
  • Ideas generated from previous editions of the Forum have improved the programme focus and delivery methodology of development organizations including LAPO.
  • Key resolutions at Annual LAPO Development Forums have been inputted into national poverty reduction programmes of various tiers of government.

For further information, please contact the following:

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo                                                James-Wisdom Abhulimen
Executive Director                                                           Programme Coordinator
GSM: 08025898920                                                        08163706505, 07051192297

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