By Maduka Nweke
A Financial Times service of fDi Intelligence, has recognised the success of Alaro City in the fDi Global Free Zones of the Year Awards 2020, which acknowledge the most promising free zones in the world.
The fDi Intelligence assessed free zones by growth rate, innovation, services, products and initiatives supporting companies in them. Alaro City was awarded “Highly Commended in Africa” in the SME Winners Category and named “One to Watch” among free zones globally.
The panel of judges from fDi, comprising the Financial Times’ specialist editorial team and independent judges for each region, studied 61 free zones. Commenting on Alaro City, the judges said: “Alaro City FZC in the Lekki Free Zone in Nigeria has been developing an SME enclave where a shared facilities strategy will be adopted to optimize the operations of companies within the enclave. The enclave will focus on developing smaller-sized industrial and logistics plots, typically between 1,000 and 5,000 square metres.”
Launched in January 2019, Alaro City is planned as a 2,000-hectare mixed-income, city-scale development with industrial and logistics locations, complemented by offices, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels, entertainment and 150 hectares (370 acres) of parks and open spaces. Alaro City is a partnership between Rendeavour, Africa’s largest new city builder, and Lagos State Government.
More than 30 companies are operational, building or designing their facilities in the city, and 3.5km of initial road networks and a modular 50MVA power plant are under construction. One of the companies in Alaro City, Ariel Foods FZE, launched the largest ready-to-eat therapeutic foods factory in Africa in January. The facility, located on 28,000 square metres, has an annual production capacity of 18,000 metric tonnes and is the most technically advanced therapeutic manufacturing facility Africa.
Commenting on the fDi awards, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, Chairman of Alaro City, said: “We are honoured by fDi Intelligence’s recognition of the innovation and economic growth that Alaro City represents. As economies emerge from the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, free zones are using their special status to keep trade flowing. At Alaro City, we are fully aware of the role we play in contributing to Nigeria’s economic development and attracting investments into Lagos, the nation’s economic cum financial nerve-centre and we are especially honoured when this work is recognised.”
Last year, Alaro City’s masterplan won the international Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award, besting prestigious projects such as the Amazon HQ2 supersite in Dallas and the 5M project in San Francisco. The city was also voted “Emerging Project of the Year” by PropertyPro.ng at the Africa Real Estate Awards.