US Backs Devt of New $250m City in Lagos

John Bray

Bennett Oghifo

The Government of the United States of America has given its full support to Rendeavour, Africa’s largest urban developer, which is in partnership with the Lagos State Government in the development of Alaro City, a satellite community opposite the future Epe international airport in the North West Quadrant of the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos.

The new city is a product of a joint development initiative launched about a year ago by the United States Government and the federal government, known as US-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue, according to US Commercial Service Counsellor, BrentOmdahl, who represented the US Counsel General in Nigeria, Mr. John Bray, at the project’s ground breaking ceremony at the site, wednesday.

He said, “The dialogue is meant to facilitate key investments like Lagos State and Rendeavour are inaugurating today,” and thanked the Lagos State government and Rendeavour “for being one of the pioneer investments under the U.S.-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue. We wish you the best and you have the US government support.”

He said the Ambassador, Counsel General and other officials of the US Embassy track very closely projects and investments that come from the United States into Nigeria, stating that “in discussing this project with them, it became very clear to us that this has all of the classic trappings of the characteristic American investment and project.

He explained this, saying, “first of all a vision is being created for transforming the economy in a very positive way by moving it up the value chain, creating a space where businesses, individuals and companies can come together to make great things happen.”

He also described the new city project as “beautiful example of public-private-partnership. In the United States, we often rely on the private sector to bring solution to government and in partnership with Lagos State Government, Rendeavour is doing that at very high level.”

He said even though the city’s initiative “is US-led, both with managerial leadership and money, we cast a very wide network with this project to bring in, really, the best services that Nigeria and the world has to offer in addition to money coming and that is typical of an American project.”

Another American characteristic that is in the project, he said was transparency “that Rendeavour, as a great American corporate, exhibit throughout Africa and throughout the world, and we are recommending the same financial performance and transparency to the benefit of all around.”

In addition, he said there would skills transfer, jobs and that it would benefit not just the community, but also Lagos and Nigeria.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who performed the ground breaking, said, “We welcome the substantial foreign direct investment Rendeavour is making in Alaro City, which will further enhance the Lekki Free Trade Zone as the gateway of choice in Nigeria and West Africa, as well as supporting the local community and symbolises the government’s continuous support for private investors and fast tracking development.”

Founder and CEO of Rendeavour, Stephen Jennings, said: “We are proud and delighted to be bringing our successful inclusive city model to Nigeria and Lagos State, the heart of the country’s vibrant economy. Our partnership with Lagos State will ensure that Alaro City is an economically sustainable city open to all Nigerians. We already look forward to the development of Alaro City and to its 2,000 hectares, to accommodate the rapid growth of the Lekki Free Zone.”

He said “Rendeavour is building seven new cities in Africa: in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a master developer, Rendeavour invests over $250 million in each project, creating the infrastructure and living and working spaces that will help sustain and accelerate Africa’s economic growth, meet the aspirations of Africa’s burgeoning middle classes, and serve as a catalyst for further urban development.”

Conceived as a 2,000 hectare project in 2012, Rendeavour and Lagos State announced their partnership in 2015 under the administration of former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola. Over the last year, the joint venture has received its Certificate of Occupancy and master plan approval from relevant authorities.