A N3.6 billion business and leisure development park, known as ‘The Arena’ would soon be built in Abuja to host about 10,000 vendor international trade fair, originally designed to be executed in Calabar, Cross River State.
Chief Executive Officer of CLIQIT and the arrow head of the promoters, Mr. Gerald Konwea told Economic Confidential in Abuja that “The Arena”, a replica of TINAPA in Calabar, was moved to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into the waiting hands of both local and international investors after the promoters could not find a common ground with the Cross River State government in terms of executing the trade event due every December after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2016.
Mr. Konwea noted that the business and leisure park, which will seat on a 15- hectare land will be kept busy all year round due to the carefully designed range of activities by the promoters, adding that they will key in to the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises(MMSEs) initiatives of the federal government in order to tackle the high rate of unemployment.
“Besides the international trade fair that is expected to last 10 days while hosting thousands of attendees from around the world, the Arena will feature a startup campus and hi-tech research facilities designed to play host to thousands of interns yearly, a golf course, a race track for actual racing, a hotel and a helipad. The Arena is strategically designed to host truly amazing events for at least 30 out of the 52 weekends in a year while the campus and research laboratories will run 24/7”, he said.
He also emphasized that the entire project development which is already backed by a host of local and foreign partners and financiers is phased over four years but the Arena will start operations hopefully by end of this year with most of its planned events taking place concurrently.
He said that the 10,000 vendor international trade fair, is designed to focus on four strategic developmental areas such as ICT, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing and Agriculture, which would create 15,000 jobs yearly, generate N7 billion in Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), attract direct forex inflow and catalyze over $520m in exports, stressing that over 8,500 international vendors have been secured for the maiden edition of the event.
“But now that we are going ahead to build our own Arena for our own events, the colossal economic activity that we anticipate will be unprecedented – it’s nothing Nigeria has seen before or expect to see in the near future and this is true following the already approved designs for the project and the readiness of the partners involved”, he said.
According to him, the initiative is to deliver the biggest single-phase trade fair in the world which will boost trade in the West African sub-region, intra African trade and open up borders within the continent.