The Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) has emerged as a hub for economic growth and development in Nigeria. Located in the Lekki Peninsula area of Lagos State, the zone has witnessed significant progress and numerous major developments since its establishment.
In this article, we will explore what the Lekki Free Trade Zone is, and where it is located, and delve into some of the notable projects and developments that have taken place within the zone.
The Lekki Free Trade Zone is a special economic zone situated in the Lekki Peninsula, which is known as one of the fastest-growing areas in Lagos, Nigeria.
Aerial view of Lekki Free Zone
The zone operates under a unique set of regulations that provide incentives and benefits to businesses operating within its boundaries.
The Lekki Free Trade Zone is strategically located on the eastern coast of Lagos State, approximately 60 kilometers east of the city center and 70km away from Lagos International Airport. It covers a vast expanse of land spanning over 16,500 hectares and is positioned along the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Lekki Free Zone Master Plan
The 16,500-hectare Lekki Free Zone has been divided into two peninsulas: parcel A and parcel B, which are the Northern and Southern peninsulas respectively. The zone is further divided into 4 quadrants, all privately owned Joint Ventures with the Lagos State Government, namely:
Phase 1 of the Lekki Free Zone covers an area of 3000 hectares with an intended population of about 120,000 residents. This section of the city is currently undergoing development and is designed to accommodate a variety of activities. It was established in 2006 as a joint venture between the Chinese and Nigerian governments to promote trade, attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and driving industrialization in the region. It includes:
The quadrant is further divided into 6 functional clusters. The quadrant is planned to ensure a good transport network between clusters and proper service facilities for all of them. The clusters are namely:
This region consists of two island plots intended for holiday resorts, tourism, and recreation purposes. It is bordered on the North by the Lekki Lagoon.
This region is also bordered on the North by the lagoon. As its name suggests, it is meant for low-medium residential districts in the quadrant.
This region is primarily intended to house manufacturing industries. It will be the site of class 1,2 and 3 industries.
Warehouses, Storage and Logistics facilities will be concentrated in this region. The road network of the Free zone will ensure that transportation and exportation outside the zone is easy.
This will serve as the commercial and business center of the quadrant. This means that all the activities carried out in other regions will be supported by this region. It is therefore projected to be the most attractive part of the quadrant.
This is the main hub for businesses and commercial activities in the startup area, which covers 150 hectares. In the future, the public services provided in this area will be expanded along the commercial axis, specifically the N2/Lagos road. This expansion will encourage the overall growth and development of the entire zone.
This section of the Lekki Free Zone is meant for petrochemical-related industries. It is the location of the newly commissioned Dangote refinery.
This section is another one intended for mixed-use industrial activities after the Southwest quadrant. Also known as Alaro City.
This part of the city combines different uses, such as workplaces, shops, homes, community spaces, and places for fun activities. It is located near the water and is designed to be a new town. It will serve as the central area for the city administration, business activities, and residential centre in LFZ.
One of the most significant developments within the Lekki Free Trade Zone is the construction of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant. Owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, this mega-project is set to become the largest single-train refinery in the world upon completion. With a refining capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, the refinery will not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for petroleum products but also position the country as a major exporter.
Another noteworthy development in the Lekki Free Trade Zone is the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port. This deepwater port project is being built to accommodate larger vessels and increase the maritime capabilities of Nigeria. Once completed, it will serve as a significant gateway for international trade and boost the efficiency of cargo handling in the region.
The Lekki International Airport is a proposed airport that will be situated 10km from the Lekki Free Zone with a capacity of 5 million passengers annually.
The expected cost of the first phase of the project is 71.64 billion naira ($450 million). The airport will serve as a major development considering the demand for alternative travel in the zone.
The 2.5 billion dollar fertilizer plant sits on 500 hectares of land in the Lekki Free Trade zone and can produce 3 million metric tonnes of urea fertilizer per annum.
The establishment of the plant is meant to fill Nigeria’s fertilizer gap and thereby increase agricultural production nationwide. The plant, inspired by the fertilizer project started by the Muhammadu Buhari regime will encourage other fertilizer plants across the country.
The expected fertilizer production boom could well place Nigeria as a major exporter of fertilizer in Africa.
The first phase of the upgrading of the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway has been completed and officially opened for vehicular movement.
According to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, “This event does not only mark the opening of Phase 1 of the project, we are also flagging off the commencement of Phase 2 of the work. The entire project will set the Lekki-Epe corridor on the path of socio-economic prosperity and progress. This corridor is fast emerging as an urban economic hub.”
The Lekki Free Trade Zone is also the site of the ambitious Lagos Smart City project. This project aims to create a technologically advanced and sustainable city within the zone. The smart city will integrate cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and renewable energy systems to enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses alike.
It is already making an impact on the real estate industry in the country. This is due to the large-scale nature of the project. What does this mean for the Ibeju Lekki area in Lagos state?
The Ibeju Lekki area was already becoming a popular choice for investment in the state, even before the completion of the Lekki Free Trade Zone.
Since the future of the area looks promising, it’s not surprising to see land for sale in Ibeju Lekki and its surrounding areas. Additionally, due to the many opportunities in the area, it has become a desirable place for residential purposes. Living near a thriving business hub is a good idea for the future.
According to the Lekki Free Zone Development Company, pricing on land in the zone is calculated per square metre. For real estate properties, the cost is from $180 per square metre while industrial land starts from $185 per square metre.
Due to the reduced limitations on goods in the area, importers and other businesses have taken advantage and established a presence in the zone. The strategic position of the zone with the presence of the deep sea port, and airport ensures that sea, land and air travel is stress-free. All these combined with the forward-thinking projects meant to convert the area into a major financial hub encourages foreigners and foreign investment in the area.
With more businesses, companies and offices migrating into the zone, the need to employ more hands increases. This means that employment opportunities will be on the rise and thus encourage mass migration into the area.
As is expected, properties in the area will only keep appreciating in value. This will be due to the the increase in demand for residential homes, and as more people come, leisure places will be abundant in the zone. Land and property owners in the zone have already started reaping the benefits of the increase in demand for living and operation spaces in the zone, and according to World Bank that describes the zone as “the fastest free zone in the world”, this demand is expected to keep increasing.
As we said earlier, the free zone comes with reduced or no trade barriers. This will ensure there is a huge influx of foreign investment and companies, who will ensure that foreign exchange, employment and investment is constantly on the rise.
The Lekki Free trade zone has already positioned itself as the premier distribution hub for West Africa boasting of foreign and local investments running into billions of dollars. This development will greatly improve the economic situation of the state and the country at large.
The Lekki Free Trade Zone has emerged as a focal point for economic development and investment in Nigeria. With its strategic location, favorable business regulations, and a range of major developments taking place within its boundaries, the zone has become an attractive destination for local and international businesses.
The Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, Lekki Deep Sea Port, Lagos Smart City, and various industrial and residential estates are just a few examples of the major projects that have transformed the zone into a thriving economic hub.
As these developments continue to progress, the Lekki Free Trade Zone is poised to play a pivotal role in driving Nigeria’s industrialization, trade expansion, and economic prosperity.