Lagos’s two maritime ports – Apapa and Tin Can Island – handle more than 80% of Nigeria’s imports and 70% of non-oil exports (Business Day, 14.07.2017). But their location in a populous urban area has long prevented the two ports from operating at capacity as high volumes of traffic and road congestion around both port areas continue to create significant operational challenges.

Exacerbating matters, this continuous heavy traffic has put a major strain on key roads leading to the ports, causing serious damage to the road surface, further exacerbating traffic conditions creating challenges to port operations (LCCI, 10.2016). Notably, long queues of traffic cause both a delay in the evacuation of cargo from the ports as well as delays in the shipment of export cargoes, both of which affect contract obligations and, in some cases, can lead to the cancellation of supply contracts.

Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s most known and respected businessman, has consistently spoken about how much damage the poor condition of the country’s roads is doing to the economy. In 2017, he finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

As part of its corporate social responsibility, the Dangote Group is currently reconstructing a large section of the road network around Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports. Ostensibly for reasons of philanthropy, questions have been raised as to who truly benefits from this scheme.