CEO, Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ)
CEO, Alaro City
How has LFTZ become one of the world’s fastest-growing free trade zones?
TUNDE SODADE LFTZ is located in the Ibeju Lekki area in the eastern part of Lagos State and spans over 16,500ha. Some 14 years ago, the government of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu decided to utilize this vast plot of land by developing an industrial city as a free zone to enhance the industrial capacity of Lagos State. Notably, because the Atlantic Ocean to the south provides the possibility of building a new seaport in the area, the visionaries of the free zone perceived the area’s enormous potential. The sea port construction will be complete by 2023. The government is also working hard to build an airport in the north of the zone. The Lagos State government recognizes the importance of providing world-class infrastructure around the zone and is working to provide these. Highways and railroads are also planned, with agreements to construct three major roads about to be signed. The waterways are also being prepared. The vision is to deliver an industrial piece of land with sufficient infrastructure around it to accommodate the needs of major industries. The free zone is particularly suited to export-oriented businesses, and we are encouraging entrepreneurs to establish more export companies within the LFTZ.
Alaro City is a major mixed-use development project in Nigeria. What is its expansion process?
ODUNAYO OJO Alaro City is a brand-new mixed-use satellite town located in LFTZ. It is a 2,000-ha development focused on diverse users. Alaro City is a joint venture between the Lagos State government and Rendeavour, the largest private landholding company in Africa today. Alaro City is places for people to live, work, and send their kids to school. It has retail, healthcare, and all the facilities needed for a city to function. Alaro City is aligned with Rendeavour’s vision of creating more planned satellite towns in the growth corridors of large African cities. The company acquires city-sized parcels of land with an average minimum of about 1,000ha. Then, we build the infrastructure, organize secure land titles, and invite different stakeholders and players to build the industries, schools, and homes. A world-class environment for living, working, and playing is the concept around Alaro City, which was launched on January 29, 2019.
How do you promote investment within your targeted audiences?
TS Promoting foreign investment is about understanding the needs of foreign investors and being able to provide these. It is about striving to provide the human and capital infrastructure needed in and around the zone. We understand the type of investors and operators that we want and what they need, and our remit is to do everything we can to provide these. They want to have skilled manpower, easy ingress and egress, and goods and services. They value proximity to a modern, functioning sea port. They would like proximity to an airport and reliable utility services. Regarding SMEs, we are developing clusters for them to share facilities because many struggle with the overhead costs of facilities. We are determined to make it easier and more affordable for SMEs to access power, water, and so on. It is challenging but worthwhile, because ultimately, SMEs will be the backbone of our economy. The more SMEs are encouraged, the stronger the overall economy of the country will become.
OO The Architizer A+ Award nomination itself was enough recognition of our master plan’s quality, but winning the award was humbling for us. Given that Alaro City is a brand-new project, it was the only project on the African continent that made the list. It put us alongside international projects in places like San Francisco. The award also speaks to the quality of planning that has gone into making Alaro City the destination for investors and different stakeholders in the LFTZ. Alaro City is promoted as a premium place to live, work, and invest, and the whole idea of a mixed-use, mixed-density, and mixed-income community resonates well with people. Our development mix ensures that Alaro City appeals to a wide range of customers. Rendeavour’s quality and reputation as an international developer gives them credibility as promoters of the project. Our partnership with the Lagos State government ensures there is confidence in the minds of the public and our clients, giving us a competitive advantage.
NIGERIA - Energy & Mining
Group Managing Director, Eraskorp Nigeria Limited