Developer Rendeavour’s ambitious seven-city development scheme last week received fresh impetus with opening of the first manufacturing unit at Alora City, Lagos, as two major Kenyan manufacturers affirmed they will be investing at the site.
Kenyan Ariel Foods commissioned the first-ever investment—billed to be Africa’s largest of its kind—at the Lekki free zone east of Lagos while Unity and Universal homes announced their debut.
Ariel, which owns a similar nutritional plant in Kenya supplying UN agencies while sourcing peanuts from Kakuma refugees, announced Ishtar Chandaria as the CEO of the facility. He is the son of chairman Dhiren.
Rendeavour is locally the developer of the Tatu City on the Northern Bypass, Nairobi and has lined up such developments in five sub-Saharan countries including DR Congo (Kiswishi), Ghana (Appolonia) and Zambia (Roma Park) on 12,000 hectares. Apart from homes and industrial parks, the developments include educational and health facilities.
The Alora, a joint undertaking with Lagos State, unlike the Nairobi one located in a relatively developed suburb will involve extensive infrastructure building including a 54-kilometer expressway to a new Freeport on the Atlantic Ocean. The road from Lagos itself is currently due for repair after Dangote Group trucks caused massive damage during building of a plant.
Lagos plans to use Alora as gateway to West Africa. Apart from the free economic benefits that are like Kenyan ones, the state government has been keen to sell Nigerian World Bank ranking at 131 for ease of doing business. Kenya is ranked 56.
But Dhiren told the opening ceremony that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, practically is far much better than ranked and appreciated the cooperation from various levels of government.
“I received several warnings not to go to Nigeria…I was afraid at first when I saw them arguing,” said the entrepreneur whose firm is just one of the locals that have expressed interest in the city.