aba mega mall
Aba is the capital city of Abia State in Nigeria and is regarded as a strategic trading hub in the southern part of the country. Potentially having the biggest smart mall in Nigeria, the community of Aba will not only change the way of traditional trade but also benefit local economic development.

According to Paul Obanua, CEO of Greenfield Asset Management, which is currently planning on building Aba Mega Mall,  the project will influence and encourage privately funded infrastructural development in Nigeria and Africa in the following years.

Obanua is a 43-year-old Nigerian businessman managing Greenfield Assents Nigeria Limited, which is a company with the mission of renewing sub-Saharan African cities, regenerating communities and empowering lives.

“In our quest to achieve this (mission), one of the opportunities we identified is in the area of infrastructure development, especially retail infrastructure,” said Obanua during an interview with FORBES.

The traditional way of retail trade in Africa is an open market retail system. In Nigeria, Lagos has only four standard malls for a population of more than 20 million. Rapid urbanization and quickly increased youth demography enlarge the demand for a new shopping experience.

In Aba, a major industrial and commercial center in Nigeria, the current major shopping center is the Ariaria market that was built in the 1970s. Nowadays, there are 120,000 shops in that market, which exceeded their original capacity of 20,000 shops. Thus, a new retail infrastructure is really in need.

The planned smart mall community — Aba Mega Mall — will include 100,000 square meters of retail space for shopping, which can only partially satisfy the real demand of more than 500,000 square meters of retail space. It will also have other infrastructures, such as a multiplex movie theater, bank, transportation system and a dock for wholesales.

With a projected investment of $300 million, Aba Mega Mall is expected to be one of the biggest investments by Greenfield Assets Nigeria Limited.

Recently, there are 1,000 units finished during the first phase. Right after May 26, 2015, when it was commissioned, the commercial activities commenced.

Subsequently, the second phase has started and will include more advanced infrastructural construction, such as a luxury mall, 6-Screen Cinema, 100-room boutique hotel, 10-megawatt Independent Power Supply and the first Dry Port in the South-East of Nigeria with a fully automated 30,000 square meters for commercial activities.

“We are going to have the Special Economic Zone, which will be an integrated city of business parks that will consist of manufacturing concerns, like automotive manufacturing, steel fabrication, leather works, petrochemical industries, Agri-business and ICT Park,” said Obanua, representing the investment Greenfield Assets.

According to Obanua, the development of Aba Mega Mall will drive economic growth in the city and the nation. With the support of the infrastructure of Aba Mega Mall, Aba has the potential to develop into one of the biggest commercial hubs worldwide due to the volume of its trade and industry.

Moreover, the development of the mall will nurture industries such as the leather industry. The world-class trading environment in the Aba Mega Mall will offer the leather industry with sufficient facilities.

Most importantly, Aba Mega Mall will be likely to create employment opportunities in excess of more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Thus, building potentially the “biggest mall” is definitely an efficient way to alleviate poverty and develop the local economy in the city or the nation.

Shengyu Wang

Sources: Forbes, Greenfield Assets, Aba Mega Mall
Photo: blogspot