Industrial Hubs that are evolving in the South-South Geopolitical Zone (2)

Previous articles in this series focused on the emerging investment hubs and prospects of the South-South states of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Edo. This current edition beams searchlight on the states of Cross River, Delta, and Akwa-Ibom.

Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State, is often described as the tourism capital of Nigeria, because of the several initiatives implemented around 1999–2007 which made the city the cleanest and most environmentally friendly in Nigeria.

Since the 16th century, Calabar as Port Harcourt has served as an international seaport, shipping out goods such as palm oil. Industrialization is still buzzing in the area with the presence of some tertiary industries and the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), Niger Flour Mills, Tinapa as well as the new garment factory and its conglomerates. The city also has several standards hotels, resorts and amusement parks.

The Tinapa Tourism Complex and Commercial Resort (incorporating a giant industrial park), an initiative of the Cross River State government  in collaboration with multi-sector financiers, lies to the north of the city beside the Calabar Free Trade Zone. It has inexplicably been left fallow for quite some time, and needs to be reactivated in order to jump-start investments and trade linking the Atlantic coastal islands and southern Africa.

Ughelli town near Warri in Delta state, south-south Nigeria, lies in the western Niger delta region, east of Warri. Originally an agricultural-trade centre (in cassava, plantains, sugarcane, palm oil and kernels), it has also developed industries producing sheet glass, glass bottles, and natural gas. Petroleum deposits were discovered in the vicinity, and since 1965 crude oil from the Ughelli fields has been shipped via the 140-mile (225-kilometre) Trans-Niger Pipeline southeastward to the port of Bonny for export.

The recent completion of the Warri-Itakpe rail line is going to boost business in no small way.

One of the cities that exposed Nigeria as an economic power nation to the world in the early 19th century is Sapele. This is as a result of its finest timber produce in the erstwhile African Timber and Plywood (AT&P) company situated in the town. Sapele’s strategic location makes it one of the commercial nerve centres in Delta state. It is just about thirty minutes’ drive to the oil city of Warri, and forty-five minutes’ drive to Benin City, capital of Edo state. Its waterways link up communities like Koko among other riverine communities who make their living from water. The area bubbles with fishing and processing activities; dealing in smoked fishes, crayfish and other sea foods with the Sapele market as the commercial nerve centre.

It is important to emphasize that Sapele used to play host to several big companies like AT&P, Eternit, Cenico rubber factory, Flour Mills, Pontu, but most of these enterprising large and medium enterprises have left for other places.

Again, despite the fact that Sapele used to generate electricity through the gas turbine station in Ogorode for the national grid, the situation is no longer the same for a long time now. Unfortunately also, the unique deep Seaport at Sapele has equally been utterly neglected, and ships that would have been berthing in this distinctive natural endowment have been re-routed to other Delta sea ports like Warri and Calabar.

It is quite unfortunate that the industrial boom era in Sapele did not transform the town into anything remarkable. Perhaps, if the city’s glory is restored, it is likely that these enterprises and more would creep back, and greater things might start happening. Opportunities therefore exist for public-private partnership for the resuscitation, use and preservation of the rich natural endowments, and by extension the revival of the industrial potentials of this territory.

Akwa Ibom state is one of the largest oil and gas producing states in the South-South (Niger Delta) region of the country. The state recently launched the first Electric Metering Company in Nigeria whose objective is to produce electric meters en masse, thereby reducing the high cost of electricity in the state. The state is also home to various chemical industries, and replete with agro-industrial ventures including the newly introduced government-sponsored coconut enterprises, the toothpick and pencil industries.

Series Navigation<< Industrial Hubs that are evolving in the South-South Geopolitical Zone (1)Evolving Industrial Zones in the North-East Geopolitical Zone (1) >>


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