The construction of Nigeria’s first so-called ‘smart’ city, which has been touted as the second largest ‘private city’ development in the world after Sondo International Business District in South Korea, could attract up to $15bn-worth of foreign investments by the end of its five-year development cycle, the secretary to the federal government, Anyim Pius Anyim, stated at an investor conference recently.
The construction of Abuja Centenary City, which will be located in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, will host a residential population of about 100,000 people, according to government estimates. But, with the city’s primary focus centred on attracting investors from multinational firms, Mr Anyim told the local press that only 20% of the city would be reserved for residential accommodation, with the remaining 80% serving Nigeria’s tourism, leisure, sports and commercial sectors.
In a speech at the Centenary Investor’s Forum in early February 2013, Mr Anyim said that the Abuja Centenary City will be established as a greenfield project to commemorate the 100-year anniversary since Nigeria gained independence from the UK. The city, which will be designed to balance modernity with Nigeria’s cultural heritage, will span more than 10 square kilometres of land.
As a private sector project, Mr Anyim said the government would finance the city's construction with FDI from private firms. “The government will not put any money [in],” he announced, maintaining that the government would raise capital by issuing land swap agreements with private enterprises, which were in accordance with the country’s Federal Capital Territory land laws.
Expected to create at least 50,000 jobs during its construction, the city’s authorities maintain that Abuja Centenary City will accelerate Nigeria’s economic growth by raising its profile among international investors. "The city will promote leisure, tourism, commercial hubs and sports,” said Mr Anyim. “It will promote multinational and domestic businesses in a world-class and masterplanned environment… while [also] contributing to Nigeria's economic growth.”