NIGERIA - Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, will be building a "mini-Singapore" in the heart of its capital Abuja, with the first buildings up by 2015.
Designed to be the continent's first "smart city", it is being modelled partly after Singapore, said Mr Louis Tay, a managing director of local consultancy firm Surbana, which is handling the project's masterplan.
Surbana signed a memorandum of agreement with Nigerian counterparts Smart City Private Limited last week - one of several collaborative deals inked between both countries during the inaugural Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum.
"It will be like building a mini-Singapore in our capital," said Nigerian High Commissioner to Singapore Nonye Rajis- Okpara, in an interview with The Straits Times after attending the signing ceremony.
Mrs Rajis-Okpara, who has been here since September last year, recommended Singapore as a model six months ago. This was after realising that "what the project was seeking to build was almost like what I see in Singapore - great urban planning, greenery, superb architecture and city management".
The city, which will feature high levels of automation in buildings and monitoring systems to track energy consumption, for instance, will sit on more than 60ha of Abuja's prime land.
It will be "a very liveable place that can attract talent and investment much like Singapore", said Mr Tay. "But Nigeria needs a Nigerian solution, so we cannot copy wholesale from Singapore but can pick out good aspects to adapt."