THE 19TH ANNUAL LAPO DEVELOPMENT FORUM SPEECH 2012
- Honourable members of Edo State House of Assembly,
- Honourable Commissioners,
- Distinguished Senior Public Servants,
- The Chairperson,
- Special Guest of Honour,
- Development Partners,
- Civil Society activists and leaders,
- Leaders of thought,
- Distinguished scholars,
- Members of LAPO,
- Staff of LAPO,
- Gentlemen of the Press,
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Board of Directors, members and staff of the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), I warmly welcome you to the 19th Annual LAPO Development Forum. The grace of God has kept us alive to celebrate yet another Annual Development Forum in the annals of the history of our internationally acclaimed poverty-alleviation focused organization.
The LAPO Annual Development Forum which started nineteen years ago is fast becoming a rendervouz for learning new things and gathering fresh data about the all-important issue of human development, especially as it concerns our country, Nigeria and the African continent. In LAPO, we are committed to learning and innovations. We innovate in product and service development, delivery procedures and relationship with our clients. Indeed, LAPO grew through learning. While we learn, we innovate greatly as well.
The LAPO Annual Development forum is an annual event where scholars, donors, beneficiaries and practitioners involved in the various spheres of development and poverty alleviation convey to exchange, formulate ideas and design realistic roadmaps for attaining enhanced performance of development organizations’ projects and programmes. The Annual Development Forum is a vital component of LAPO’s programme development and re-strategizing process. Ideas generated from previous editions of the Annual Forum have added value to our overall advancement over the years.
LAPO envisages the emergence of communities where the poor peoples are economically empowered, socially emboldened and well informed about socio-economic and health problems, the organization assists to create access to financial services and life transforming opportunities for the poor people. The organization is purely an indigenous initiative, and it is the leading microfinance institution in Nigeria.
The LAPO system as at today, October 17, 2012 has a total figure of 3,126 as staff. In 2011, LAPO Microfinance Bank was able to deliver N31.58 billion to low-income people and micro-enterprises. We plan to do close to N50 billion this financial year. As at today, LAPO disburses funds through three hundred branches in twenty-seven states and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. LAPO has extended its services across the frontiers of the West African sub-region. It currently operates in Sierra Leone. The organization currently has a total membership of 533,117.
The hallmark of LAPO programme implementation hinges on innovation. Its social sensitization and transformation programmes have been widely acclaimed for its innovativeness and remarkable impact. In 2002, LAPO won an award on innovation in micro credit with our credit – for – share – product of the consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP) a unit of the World Bank. LAPO has been designated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a centre for capacity building for micro-credit institutions in the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones. LAPO has become a fountain of support for poor women in Nigeria.
We always put different aspects of the development agenda on the front burner of national discourse. Today’s, topic, “Ending the violence of extreme poverty: promoting empowerment and building peace”, no doubt, will stimulate responses from participants. More data, expectedly, will come to the fore. And we shall be richer on tactics and strategies to end the violence of extreme poverty. It is my earnest expectation that in line with the tradition of the LAPO Annual Development Forum, a robust discourse will follow the paper which our respected guest speaker, Mr. S. N. Ugbougbo will be presenting. Flowing from the discussion, a communiqué of the resolutions of the forum will be widely circulated in the media.
I sincerely thank our guest speaker, Mr. S. N. Ugbougbo, who is a Lecturer in the Department of Accounting at Benson Idahosa University, Benin City. With his background, we are surely set for a robust discussion on how to end the scourge of poverty in our country. I am grateful to the Chairperson of this forum, the guest of honour and everyone who is here to celebrate excellence. I sincerely thank our friends in the media. They have partnered with us over the years. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the 19th edition of the LAPO Annual Development Forum. Do have a great day.
God bless you.
Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO)
17th October, 2012.
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