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Nigeria Moves Ahead With Ekiti Knowledge Zone


Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA) is pressing ahead the proposed Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ) in southwestern Nigeria, inviting consultants this month to express interest in drawing up the masterplan for the project.
The required services include preparing the architectural designs and the bidding documents for construction work. Submissions are due by 21 March. 
At the end of January, Canada’s CPCS Transcom also announced it had completed the feasibility study for the zone.
The EKZ is planned to be a special economic zone spread across 955 acres that promotes research, digital innovation and entrepreneurship. It is intended to help turn Ekiti state into a knowledge-based economy, generating 26,000 jobs, and contributing some US$14 million annually in net economic benefits.
The site is close to the Ekiti airport and within close proximity to Afe Babalola University and Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti.
The EKZ project is being supported by the African Development Bank, which approved a US$80 million loan to support the first phase of construction in November 2023. The state government will provide US$14.8 million in counterpart funding.
The zone will be developed in phases as a public-private partnership (PPP), with the state government providing land and infrastructure. In April 2023, the government conferred free zone status on the project.
The first phase of the EKZ will cover 40 hectares and include a 20-hectare smart green city, while the other 20 hectares will be dedicated to residential housing to be co-funded by the Family Homes Fund.
The civil works planned for the site include:

Office space: This will be located in the green city and will include blocks of offices comprising bungalows and multi-storey buildings for administrative services;
Residential facilities: Up to 856 housing units will be constructed, consisting of 124 blocks (496 units) of three-bedroom terrace bungalows, 64 blocks (256 units) of two-bedroom terrace bungalows and 26 blocks (104 units) of one-bedroom terrace bungalows;
Social infrastructure: This will include a 100-bed multi-system specialist hospital, tertiary education institutions, primary and secondary schools and a sports arena;
Commercial infrastructure: The EKZ will feature a shopping mall as well as a recreational area for leisure and local market stalls;
Power: The EKZ will be powered initially by a 5MW independent power plant (IPP) whose capacity can be expanded to 10MW upon full occupancy. The IPP will be powered by gas-fired turbines combined with renewable energy sources such as solar.

The EKZ aims to attract technology start-ups, business process outsourcing firms, fabrication and production companies, research institutes and corporate back-office operations. These will include anchor investors from the private sector to form part of a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to pool financing and manage the zone’s operations.
The zone aims to attract investment commitments from at least 15 firms.
As a free zone, the EKZ will offer incentives such as free repatriation of capital, profits and dividends for foreign investors, rent-free land during construction, tax holidays, waivers on import/export duties, and expatriate quotas.
On 20 February, Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji requested the US to partner with the state on projects including the EKZ during a meeting with a team from the American embassy.
“We sought collaboration between the state’s knowledge zone and the US technology hub Silicon Valley to expedite our plans to position Ekiti as a frontier for attracting and integrating ideas, talents, and innovations within Nigeria,” Oyebanji wrote on his X/Twitter account.
Today, I met with top officials of the American Embassy led by the Charge d’Affaires, David Green, and the Consul General, William Stevens. The Chairman of CAVISTA Holdings and the Corporate Council on Africa Chairman, Mr. John Olajide, were also in attendance. The purpose of our… pic.twitter.com/nl7lidA7Mp
— Biodun Oyebanji (@biodunaoyebanji) February 20, 2024

Photo: Education (Source: EKDIPA)


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