City on the move: Abeokuta, Nigeria
The city of Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria lies about 100km from the centre of Lagos. The state is known for its natural resources and mineral deposits (it is the largest producer of cement in the country) and the city itself has seen an influx of manufacturing companies in recent years.
Nike Majekodunmi, founder and CEO of prominent Lagos bakery chain Nuts About Cakes, believes this is because of the availability of cheaper real estate and “friendlier taxes”.
“More and more people are moving out there and commuting into Lagos State for work,” she says, explaining that the new Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan railway will make the trip even more convenient.
The new $1.5 billion Lagos–Ibadan line has been hailed as the first of its kind in West Africa. It provides fully air-conditioned train services in different commuter categories.
“There is an increasing number of large companies – for example, Nestlé, Lafarge and AB InBev – that have their operations in or near Abeokuta,” notes Majekodunmi.
She adds that the city has also become popular as a retirement option for those who want to move out of the hustle and bustle of Lagos. “It is becoming more developed and people are starting to buy family homes and moving out there. Even our ex-president now lives in Abeokuta.”
Various property development projects are underway in the city. “You find lovely communal estates that offer accommodation options in the Government Reserved Area (GRA) in prime locations. It is a very interesting place for new businesses to establish themselves,” says Majekodunmi.