Construction completed on Nigeria’s $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port deal. (Bloomberg)
Nigeria secured a $1.5 billion investment deal on Monday which will see it break away from the African nation’s traditional partnership with a Chinese state-led project to build a deep sea port deep in the country’s desert heart.
The deal is the first time the largely self-made nation has signed a deal to work on the $8 billion project, known formally as the Lekki Economic Zone, which is seen as an economic coup for the country.
The agreement was struck at the weekend and the companies involved were not identified. The deal was finalised at a meeting between the Lekki port company, Chinese firm China Ocean Trade and Nigerian firm Ocean Maritime to discuss the deal and the potential need for a deep sea port.
“There is a great potential for the deep seabed port in the LEK’-KIDS, including in the Lekki Deep Sea Port. It can have far reaching economic, social and environmental benefits for Nigeria and the region,” according to a statement released by the port project.
The plan envisages building the deep sea port with an area of some 13.5 square kilometres, meaning it could support about 30,000 square metres of cargo. It’s also a rare deal where the investment will not be a direct partner in any government portfolio. It will be run by the port operator and other partners to make sure it’s sustainable.
According to the statement, the deep sea port will initially comprise four berths of up to 25 metres, where it will be possible to carry the most valuable cargo in the world, including oil and gas, coal, and timber. The port will also serve as a logistics hub for oil, gas and electricity companies.
“These investments, in line with NER’s plans to become the leading offshore oil and gas producer on our continent, will provide a significant boost to the national economy