Who knew Nigeria was building a world trade center complex in Abuja?
"One of the missions of WTC Abuja is to improve trade relations between Nigeria and the rest of the world," Vinay Mahtani, CEO of the site's developer, Lagos-based Churchgate Group, told CNN.
"For example, it will enable international businesses to make investments in our community. Ties will be forged between government agencies, non-governmental organizations and international corporations, and the additional business that is captured within the walls of the World Trade Center will provide tax revenues to government which can be used to improve the welfare of the people."
Funded by local and foreign financial institutions, as well as private investors, to the tune of 200 billion Nigerian Naira, or just over $1 billion, the WTC Abuja will be the largest mixed-use development in West Africa. It will join a network of 323 locations in 89 countries, started in 1970 with the inauguration of the first World Trade Center in New York City.
According to CNN, WTC Abuja has been under development since 2010, on a lot spanning over six million square feet in the Central Business Area of the capital.
The location offers easy access to the city center and the airport, with a dual-carriage highway surrounding the site and a new light rail system currently under construction.
On the Ups and Downs of the project Adekunle Salau, Ernst & Young Advisory Leader for West Africa noted that though Abuja and Lagos will benefit from this project, but it boost prices of properties in the already priced capital.
"There is no doubt that Abuja and Lagos will benefit tremendously from high end commercial and residential real estates," Salau told CNN.
"My expectation is that if this is executed to plan, Abuja will be able to host world class conferences and compete favorably with Johannesburg and Cape town for international events.
"It may also moderate the cost of hotels and rents in Abuja, but more importantly it should add significantly to the economic development of the capital, creating employment in the service and retail sectors.
"The downside is that it can also be artificially priced,thereby continuing heat up the already high cost of Abuja properties and secondly, the amenities may not be developed to the quality expected from the WTA brand."
Abuja is Nigeria's capital city, a role for which it was purposely built starting in 1976, much in the same way as Brasilia for Brazil and Canberra for Australia. Its physical location in the middle of the country is a good metaphor for its neutral role of unity.