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New city project attracts investors
Wed, 13 Apr 2011 07:59

Investors are in a prime position to land contracts to the value of US$282-million for a new city development in Rivers state, the hub of Nigeria’s gas and oil industry.

The massive infrastructural development was outlined to delegates at an investment forum in Durban, South Africa in September 2010, ahead of the calling of international tenders for the first phase later in the month. Durban is a twin city to Port Harcourt, Rivers state's capital city.

The new city development will be built alongside the existing Port Harcourt metropolitan area. Opportunities in the development’s first phase cover sectors including water supply, solid waste management, ICT, urban transport, and the construction of housing, commercial offices, industrial parks, and a golf course and club house.

Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta is Nigeria’s second biggest city after the commercial capital Lagos.

The Durban forum was hosted by the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority and the eThekwini Council, as part of the twinning arrangement, and formed part of a visit to South Africa by Port Harcourt officials to seek out foreign investment for new city.

SA is a key source of investment, contractors, suppliers and services for projects in Nigeria, one of the fastest growing markets in Africa. The country is one of SA’s biggest trading partners with exports to Nigeria increasing from

The new city project was launched by the government of Rivers State in 2009 and is aimed at coping with the urban sprawl that has resulted from rapid urbanisation in the oil-rich region. The current population of the Greater Port Harcourt area is two million people - while the existing infrastructural backbone was only designed for the 5 000 people who lived there in 1912. The two “cities” will eventually be joined together as one large metropole.

Trevor Juul, the chief executive of South AFrican property development company SBT Juul, which is already involved in several major projects in Port Harcourt, said the area offered a return on investment of about 25%. Developments the company is involved in include an airport hotel, a leisure and shopping centre inspired by Montecasino in Johannesburg, and a large ICT park.

Dianna Games, Honorary CEO of the SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, said South African companies should not miss opportunities currently on offer in Nigeria, and particularly in Port Harcourt, as the business environment there was improving and competition was increasing rapidly.

‘Waiting could significantly increase the cost of entry into a populous and potentially very lucrative market,’ said Games.

The Rivers State government has made itself available as an equity partner for new developments in the state, either through financing or land provision. The state has passed several new laws to safeguard investors, such as a public procurement law and public private participation law.

Article source: Africa At Work

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