How $430m deal will boost Enyimba Economic City, others, by Ikpeazu
After the conclusion of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Johannesburg, South Africa, Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, is among major participants in the economic event who are counting their gains. He is particularly excited at his securing the nod of the African Development Bank (AfDB), private investors and other multilateral financial institutions for investment of $430 million to fast-track the development of Enyimba Economic City (EEC).
ECC is a proposed free-trade zone, with independent business registry, labour law, banking regulations and more, located on over 9500 hectares of land in the oil-producing communities of Abia State, between Aba and Port Harcourt.
The governor, who said that he presented the EEC to investors at the AIF, noted that many of the participants at the forum agreed that ECC is a project worthy of their commitment and demonstrated their willingness to invest in the city.
The project is privately-led, but stakeholders include the local community, the state government (Abia State), and the Federal Government.
Advisers and financiers of the EEC include the African Export-Import Bank, African Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.The governor observed that while other African countries had benefitted from the funding opportunity provided by the Africa Investment Forum, Nigeria has yet to benefit. This, he told journalists in Lagos, explained why the country presented four projects at the 2019 AIF. The four projects include Enyimba Economic City and Lagos Chemical.
AIF is a market place for project developers, investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public- and private-sector investors to encourage investment in Africa.To attract funding for Africa projects, the African Development Bank launched the inaugural Africa Investment Forum in 2018.
The forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.
AIF inaugural edition was launched in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank.
Apart from Ikpeazu, the state governors of Ekiti, Kwara and Cross River were at the event.According to AfDB, 56 boardroom deals valued at $67.6 billion were tabled at the forum while 52 deals worth $40.1 billion secured investor interest. Among the deals that secured investors’ interest was the Enyimba Economic City.
Ikpeazu said that EEC would boost Nigeria’s participation in the Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). He thanked the Federal Government for supporting the project, which he said would create not less than 700,0000 jobs within 10 years.
The governor disclosed that Olam International, one of the world’s leading food and agri-business companies, has already disclosed its interest in establishing a textile factory in ECC. Ikpeazu said: “The time has come for our people to move from trading to manufacturing. EEC is the vehicle through which we are going to achieve that.”
Last month, ECC won the first Charter Cities Business Plan Contest for 2019 with a cash prize of $25,000.
To clinch the coveted prize, the Enyimba Economic City beat several other participating cities from around the world including Blackstone Charter Cities of Australia and Novgorod New Hanse Town of Russia, which came second and third respectively.
The Enyimba Economic City is a 9464-hectare Greenfield Charter City. It will connect the nine states of South-East and South-South Nigeria, with a population of about 60 million, turning the area into a global business hub.
The city will leverage existing / improved infrastructure, including high-grade roads, rail, airports, inland ports, natural gas pipelines, a 540 MW power plant, water treatment and waste management. Enyimba Economic City will feature a state-of-the-art administrative structure to attract residents and businesses.
Enyimba’s core industry will be manufacturing, with ancillary drivers including logistics, medical, entertainment, education, commerce, lifestyle residency, and aviation. The Enyimba Economic City with an annual output of over $5 billion will provide over 700,000 direct jobs, massively transform the economy of the southeastern region of Nigeria and even beyond. Several multilateral institutions have also dubbed the city one of the most transformational projects in Africa today.
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