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MOVING TO EKO

The US is building a new $537 million consulate on reclaimed land in Nigeria

US diplomats in Nigeria holding shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Consulate General in Eko Atlantic in Lagos, Nigeria.
US Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria
Breaking new ground
  • Alexander Onukwue
By Alexander Onukwue

West Africa correspondent

Published

The US will spend more than half a billion dollars on a new consulate general in Eko Atlantic, the four square miles of land in Lagos, Nigeria, reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, that features residential and commercial properties.

Designed by Ennead, a New York architecture firm, the consulate is expected to take up 50,000 square meters of space, and employ 2,500 Nigerian citizens in various roles from engineering and construction to administration. In a press release, the US said about $95 million will be invested in the local economy as a result of the project, set for completion in 2027.

US endorses the Lagos smart city project

The US already has a consulate office in Lagos, in addition to its embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

But the scope of the new consulate campus “honors the vibrant relationship between the United States and Nigeria and communicates the spirit of American democracy, transparency and openness,” Mary Beth Leonard, the US ambassador to Nigeria, said.

US Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria
Design of the US Consulate General in Eko Atlantic, Lagos.

It is expected to be the largest US consulate in the world and gives the Eko Atlantic project, which started in 2008 and intended as an international financial center, an endorsement from a major government.

One of many so-called smart city projects in Africa, Eko Atlantic could adversely affect the coastal environment in Lagos, and widen inequality in Nigeria, one of the world’s poorest countries. Konza City in Kenya, where construction has stalled on a similar project, is a cautionary tale for how smart city projects can over-promise and fail in Africa.

But the US would have been encouraged by the fact that Eko Atlantic is already a home for some families and businesses, with other construction projects ongoing. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new consulate on March 31 was attended by past and present governors of Lagos state, and Ronald and Gilbert Chagoury, the Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire brothers whose companies have helped develop and fund Eko Atlantic.

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