Eko Atlantic City targets 2023 finish deadline

A high-end seaside development in Nigeria’s megacity of Lagos could be fully operational in the next five years, as the West African nation’s economy rebounds from its worst contraction in more than two decades, according to the project’s promoter.

According to Business Day, Eko Atlantic City is being built on a planned 10-square-kilometer (3.8-square-mile) stretch of land that’s being reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, Ronald Chagoury, chairman of South Energyx Nigeria Ltd., said in an interview in the commercial hub.

When the final project is complete, as many as 250,000 people are expected to live in the development, where a three-bedroom apartment could cost almost $1 million, according to online property listings.

“We still need two years for the sea wall, one year after that for the sand-filling and another year to 18 months for the infrastructure, so say another five years to be fully operational with infrastructure,” with the first half already complete, said 69-year-old Chagoury, whose company is in charge of the basic infrastructure such as roads.

Developers will erect most buildings, and the wider project could take up to 35 years, he said. The sea wall will be 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) long once completed.

Construction slowed after a fall in oil prices in mid-2014 caused the economy of Nigeria, Africa’s top crude producer, to contract.

Today, Eko Atlantic, where so far 6.5 square kilometers have been reclaimed, is traversed by roads and has three completed and occupied buildings — two residential and one for businesses — and work has started on another 13.

“Over the last six months, we’ve seen an improvement in the economy,” the Lebanese-Nigerian businessman said. “We’re seeing the end of the tunnel.”

While economic growth slowed to 1.95 percent in the first three months of the year, Nigeria’s gross domestic product has expanded for four straight quarters.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth will accelerate to 2.1 percent this year from 0.8 percent in 2017, as oil output remains stable and prices rebound, providing more foreign currency for manufacturers to import inputs.

Once completed, Eko Atlantic City, will have high-speed fiber internet, 24-hour power in a country with frequent outages, restaurants and shops along its Eko Boulevard, which is modeled after Paris’ Champs Elysees. It also hopes to attract the corporate headquarters of top companies in Nigeria and West Africa.

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