When completed, Eko Atlantic, Nigeria’s International Commerce City which is being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, is expected to add at least $1 billion to Nigeria’s economy annually.
Standing on 10 million square metres of land, Eko Atlantic City is expected to leverage real estate, services, tourism and employment to achieve more than $1 billion GDP contribution. The projected contribution represents 0.25 percent of Nigeria’s current GDP size of about $400 billion.
“When it matures it will easily be contributing about 10 percent to the total revenue generated in Lagos state per annum, in figures that will be more than $1 billion a year to Lagos and Nigeria’s economy,” Olawale Opayinka, MD/CEO, Eko Development Company told BusinessDay during a recent tour of the projects in the City.
The City which is going to be the new financial centre in West Africa will be contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Lagos and Nigeria, “through real estate, tourism, services and the employment that it will generate.”
With a size area that is twice that of Victoria Island (VI), Eko Atlantic City is expected to house about 250,000 residents and 400,000 people are projected to be employed as workers in the city.
He said that many who have visited the city refer to it as the Dubai of Nigeria and Africa. “We have independent power that will be generated internally. There will be nothing like generators and in the next two years, we’ll have that solution fully implemented. We have state of the art drainage system; it is the best of what you can expect to find in a city anywhere in the world.”
Eko Atlantic City, according to the developer, was created to protect the Victoria Island shoreline. “More than a decade ago, the Atlantic Ocean used to bather the Amadu Bello Way and Victoria Island and pretty much pushed out some of those state liaison offices and would cause a lot flooding,” it explained.
The discussion to develop Eko Atlantic was first held around 2002, and according to the city developers, they came about with the need to protect Victoria Island because it was under threat of the surge from the ocean.
“With the acceleration of the impact of climate change, if we didn’t have a solution to protect and to stop the flooding that was generated from the surge of the Atlantic Ocean, eventually Victoria Island as we know today would have been under a lot more threat,” Opayinka said.
The city which has been undergoing development for almost ten years is said to have been progressing at a pace faster than projected.
“The pace of infrastructure development has been impressive; it goes ahead of what we think it’s going to be,” the MD said.
On the expectations from the City, Opayinka assured that it would be the headquarters of the big banks of West Africa, “more so when you are talking about the convergence of the currency in West Africa like you have in the ECO, because of the infrastructure that we have, those institutions will be based here.”
A most recent project that is expected to be completed from Eko Atlantic City is the Azuri Towers; a large mass development comprising of three towers- office tower and two residential towers. One of the residential towers, called Azuri One, “is today the tallest residential tower in Nigeria and the tallest in West Africa. It is the only the second tallest residential tower in Africa after the one in South Africa,” the development company said.
The iconic building which is located in the most dynamic area of Eko Atlantic City, the Marina, one of the waterways into Eko Atlantic expected to draw many visitors into the city itself is described by the developers as the address to have, and the place to live.
According to the Development Company, Azuri has investment-grade asset, quality assets that can generate rent. The starting price for the residential apartments is N280 million.
“If you look at the kind of rent you can achieve on such property today, you can expect a rental yield of at least 6-7 percent per annum,” Opayinka told BusinessDay during a tour of the tower.
Meanwhile, Alpha1, a flagship office tower from Eko Atlantic City, recently secured the International Finance Corporation’s EDGE certification. The EDGE certification demonstrates Eko Atlantic’s commitment to becoming the first green city in Lagos.
EDGE, which stands for ‘Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies’, cuts down building energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent while lowering greenhouse-gas emissions. The certification was awarded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.
“The market potential for green buildings in emerging markets is estimated at $24.7 trillion by 2030, according to IFC’s recent report, Green Buildings: A Finance and Policy Blueprint for Emerging Markets,” Marcene Mitchell, IFC’s Global Head for Climate Strategy and Business Development, who leads the EDGE programme, said.