• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Abuja city project hunts for $300m to reverse ‘japa’

Japa: Nigerians sell properties to afford fares to US, Europe

Metro Capital Advisory Group is set to build an 841-hectare city in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja to reverse the exodus of Nigerian talents, a trend known as “japa.”

The $300 million project is called Abuja Midtown and will be located within reach of the Central Business District and the city’s international airport.

“The whole vision is to get Nigerians to stay in Nigeria. The project we are working on will enable 250,000 Nigerian experts to develop their potential in healthcare, education, hospitality and lifestyle,” Faruk Saleh, CEO of Metro Capital Advisory Group said at the Africa Investment Forum 2023 holding in the Palace Congress, Marrakech, Morocco.

Read also: Japa syndrome: Unleashing Nigeria’s hidden assets abroad

“We are building a city within Abuja with just 2km from the international airport and we are tired of letting Nigerians travel out to export our talents so our target is to bring back a thousand Nigerian doctors in diaspora by building a world class medical city,” Saleh stated.

The project is a public-private partnership project which offers infrastructure for a prime location in Abuja. The project will feature a sustainable city which will include road and bridges networks, water and waste treatment and drainage system; independent power supply system; street lighting and telecom cabling.

It will also include a 1,500 bed medical city, a business campus, a financial centre, a five-star hotel / convention centre, a shopping mall, an independent power plant, an electric district tramway, and other leisure areas such as golf parks and recreational sport areas.

“For us at Metro Capital, our target is to let Nigerians and Africans stop shipping their talents abroad and we are providing that environment and we intend to expand it across African cities so that African potentials can be harnessed,” he said.

The World Migration Report, reveals that there were around 281 million international migrants in 2021—that’s a 27 per cent increase compared to figures from just over a decade earlier (2010) when there were 221 million migrants who’d crossed international borders. The rise in recent decades is largely driven by factors such as globalization, increased connectivity, and disparities in economic opportunities between countries.

Saleh said: “For us at Metro Capital, our vision is about developing our own infrastructure and our own cities in an African context so we came up with the master plan, conceptual design, engineering design and put it in place.

“The most critical thing I think in unlocking Africa’s potential is the value chain and Morocco, South Africa, Egypt have done well.

Read also: Nigerians save for rent, ‘Japa’, and education amid rising debt

“We have a president who is business oriented and business driven. Lagos has changed in the last 15-20 years. The most difficult part is the enabling environment. If you give Nigerians the enabling environment, they can develop Africa,” he said.

Saleh stated that in Nigeria, the most populace are suffering hence the need to make sure migrations and the sufferings reduce which means there has to be a new thinking.

“We have a new president who believes in business and is ready to support businesses. There are challenges and those challenges are not insurmountable. I believe there is a roadmap now in Nigeria where this difficult infrastructural deficit will be unlocked,” Saleh said.

He cited regulatory, power and cheap capital as the three things the government can do to produce an enabling environment for businesses in Nigeria.

Read also: ‘Japa’: How FG can slow down brain drain

Saleh said in terms of regulations, it should be done fast. “Bureaucracy is everywhere globally but the government should make sure it is fast as they know what to take to get to a level.”

He said there cant be development without power, adding that, if general infrastructure is put in place, definitely there will be more potentials for other businesses that can’t afford to set up their own power to make profit and expand.

“There should be cheap capital where entrepreneurs in different sectors can access. There is alot of that now coming up in Nigeria through the various multilateral agencies such as Bank of industry and so on,” he said.