City on the move: Lokoja, Nigeria

Dangote Cement’s Obajana factory is situated close to Lokoja.

South-west of Nigeria’s capital Abuja there is a point where the Benue and Niger rivers come together. The confluence point is right in the middle of Kogi State, next to the city of Lokoja. Aptly, the government of Kogi uses the phrase “confluence of opportunities” in its communication.

It is an area that piques the interest of Obi Ozor, CEO and co-founder of Kobo360, a digital platform that links independent truck owners with those requiring cargo transportation services in Nigeria and other African countries.

“A region that is very interesting to me today in Nigeria is definitely Kogi State,” he says. “It is close to Abuja and has one of the highest concentration deposits of minerals in the country, apart from oil and gas.”

There are reasons why Ozor would have a good eye for a gap in the market. In the early days of their business, Ozor and co-founder Ife Oyedele would personally travel with the company’s truck drivers throughout the country. This is how they learnt, at ground level, what challenges and opportunities existed.

Ozor believes Kogi State could eventually match the commercial opportunities found in cities such as Kano, “even a type of Lagos”. “Things actually work in Kogi State,” he says.

Situated close to the state capital Lokoja is Dangote Cement’s Obajana factory, its flagship plant and the largest of its three facilities in the country.

Apart from the mineral deposits, Ozor also points out the agricultural potential in the state. The major crops grown here are cassava, rice, cashew, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, groundnuts, maize, yam and melon.

Various agro-processing projects have been announced in recent years, such as the rice factory that will be established with an investment total of 4 billion Nigerian naira (about $10 million).

According to the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, the main investment opportunities in the region are agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare, tourism and mining.

Further reading

[June 2020] Figuring out how to produce tomato paste in Nigeria: The story of Tomato Jos
[May 2020] A mix between serviced apartments and a hotel: Nigerian talks about his hospitality business
[February 2020] The Lagos hawker who makes one million Nigerian naira monthly
[April 2020] Want to make money with consumer goods in northern Nigeria? Here’s what you need to know
[March 2020] Unpacking Nigeria as an investment market