Latest News Headlines For TodayEconomyPolitics

Nigeria bets on Chinese-funded port to drive economic growth

Nigeria’s president celebrated the opening of a $1.5 billion deep seaport in the commercial center of Lagos, which Chinese investors hope will improve the struggling economy of the West African nation.

According to Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lekki Deep Sea Port, one of the largest in West Africa, will relieve cargo congestion and generate hundreds of thousands of employment in addition to saving the city billions of dollars annually.

The Nigerian government, Lagos state, Singapore’s Tolaram Group, and the state-owned China Harbor Engineering Company will run the port as a joint venture. The port’s container terminal can accommodate at least 2.5 million 20-foot standard containers annually. 75% of the project is owned by the two foreign corporations.

Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, but due to inadequate infrastructure and poor management, growth has been stagnant for many years. Although the country has six significant seaports, more than 80% of imports are handled by just two of the Lagos ports, where traffic congestion has resulted in a significant revenue loss because cargoes are frequently redirected to other West African countries.

With estimated economic advantages of more than $360 billion, the authorities claim the new deep seaport on the eastern fringe of Lagos will shift traffic from clogged ports and shore up earnings.

However, analysts argue that if current obstacles are not removed, such as establishing links between ports and inland locations, it would only make a “minimum effect.”

According to Ayotunde Abiodun, an economic expert with the Lagos-based SBM Intelligence firm, “There is weak and underinvested rail network connectivity, and the roads are not in top condition.” Additionally, the port’s process automation needs to be given top priority.

The Lagos governor stated that ships docking at the port “may be up to four times the size of vessels that currently berth at both Tin Can and Apapa ports,” the other two ports in Lagos, once the port starts to operate with the first commercial vessel coming Sunday.

According to Cui Jianchun, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, the project would stimulate economic growth throughout the nation, not just in Lagos.

“This is (the) engine of the economy not only for (the) governor of Lagos but also for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Jianchun said. “This is equity of investment. This is not a loan, this is not borrowing — this is investment.”

Agriculture and trade are key drivers of Nigeria’s economy, but widespread insecurity in the agricultural-rich north, dwindling foreign direct investments and endemic corruption have slowed economic growth amid reduced earnings from crude oil.

The government has turned to international lenders and funders to help grow the economy through critical projects, among them China, whose footprint are on some of Nigeria’s most important infrastructure such as rail networks and airport terminals.

The port has “immense potential” for the economy of Nigeria, which is battling a 33% unemployment rate and an ailing economy, said Abiodun, the analyst who added that industry players must work together for this to happen.

In the maritime sector, “there needs to be interagency engagement on important issues affecting industry operators,” Abiodun said. “A more troubling challenge has been the focus of these agencies on revenue generation rather than on value service delivery. This needs to change.”

Patience Nwike

Patience is a Passionate Researcher, Web Manager as well as a certified Technical SEO Specialist. She loves to read News, write News Summary, and do Technical SEO.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button