Nigeria’s southwest state of Lagos on Thursday held a groundbreaking ceremony of a new line of an ongoing light rail construction project that is expected to improve the connectivity in the economic hub of the West African country.

The Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project, contracted by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is the second light rail project of the state, which start construction of the first line — the LRMT Blue Line project in 2010, according to the website of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.

Both projects are part of the state’s ambitious Strategic Transport Master Plan, which aims to meet the demands of future transportation and of the state as Nigeria’s commercial and economic hub and one of the world’s fastest growing megacities.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State, described the project as another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.

“Our desire is to achieve improved connectivity amongst transport modes, making commuting within Lagos easy as well as business-like for every Lagosian and visitor,” said Sanwo-Olu, adding an efficient and sustainable transportation system will increase mobility, improve living conditions, and promote economic growth.

According to the governor, the state of Lagos plays a pivotal role in the Nigerian economy as the country’s commercial nerve center and the focal point of economic activities.

“The Lagos Gross Domestic Product accounted for 26.7 percent of Nigeria’s total GDP and more than 50 percent of non-oil GDP. Over 50 percent of Nigeria’s non-oil industrial capacity is located in Lagos,” he said.

“Since transportation is the backbone of any economy, it then means we need to invest in our transport infrastructure so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations,” he added.

Addressing the ceremony, Jiang Yigao, managing director of the CCECC, said the project was another great milestone of the state for solving transportation challenges in line with the government’s development blueprint.

“It is noteworthy that the project, when completed, will ensure faster movement of people and will reduce the congestion on the roads,” Jiang said, adding that CCECC will work closely with Lagos state to ensure timely delivery and good quality of the project.

According to the CCECC, the 32-km Red Line will be constructed in three phases, and will run from Agbado, a suburban area of the state to Marina, a top business district.

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