African group announces luxury Beach Resort on 100-hectare of land at Willoughby Bay, Antigua


SOURCE: BUSINESSDAYNIGERIA: History beckons as La Campagne Tropicana Rainforest and Beach Resort heads for Antigua and Barbuda, one of the famed Caribbean Islands, not only to replicate the multiple awards-winning renowned themed Africa resort experience but to create the first ever African Tourism Free Trade zone devoted to promoting Africa to the world.

The historic resort project is coming almost four decades after La Campagne, founded by Wanle Akinboboye, debuted on the Nigerian scene at the Ikegun Village in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, where it has shown the resilience and power of audacious dream and vision by Akinboboye, who then was in his late 20s, to take the world by storm.

Over the years he has made concerted efforts at entrenching the brand in Nigeria, with a replica in Koton Karfe in Kogi State and extending to Africa with a foot hood in Cote d’ Ivoire, among others. The world has certainly taken notice of Akinboboye’s audacious vision and what his La Campagne resort has stood for, hence, the government of Antigua and Barbuda is partnering with him to establish an historic enclave in the island for African and the world to interact.

According to the management of La Campagne, the resort project will be located on a 100-hectare of land at Willoughby Bay Saint Philip, which is one of the most popular and economically viable bays of the island.

A platform for the world to explore Africa

It further stated that, ‘‘the project is a step towards bringing Africa to the world because it is time for us to stretch our hands to our brothers in the Diaspora. It is also to connect with Africa from those in the Diaspora, those in the Caribbean to Americans, to the United States of America and to Brazil.

‘‘It would be the first ever African Tourism Free Trade Zone in the world where anyone can come and experience Africa as a stepping stone to connecting with the continent. From the West, South, East, North and Central Africa, the entire continent of Africa will be represented, ’’ it stated.

Speaking further on the project, Akinboboye explained that, ‘‘It is to give an opportunity to people of African descent and lovers of African throughout the world to come to a safe Africa where all the cultures can be showcased to the world. Where the world and all children of African descent that are born in the Diaspora can come, for example to learn about Yata, Camp Africa and get connected to Africa first before they then move on to the continent.

Expanding the economic base of Africa

As the first African Tourism Free Trade Zone, he said it would open doors to the different aspects of Africa to be developed and promoted, starting with expanding the economic base of the continent.

‘‘We believe very strongly that out of the 1.1 billion people of African descent in the Diaspora; in Brazil, Americans and others, minimum 10 percent would want to patronise an African themed resort and when they do that what happens to our exports?

‘‘If we build 1, 000 chalets for example, because if you are expecting five million people, then 1,000 chalets is a drop in the bucket. For 1, 000 chalets you need about 15 million mats. What happens to the mat weavers? You need talking drums. What happens to that market?

‘‘Therefore, Nigerians and Africans can now go abroad and take advantage of their advantage and become expatriates. Because we believe very strongly that once the tourism free trade zone in Antigua and Barbuda is built, other 35 islands may be interested in replicating it for their people, for their children and for the future of their children.

‘‘I will not be surprised that Europeans, Asians, Americans and others may want it in their respective countries also because that will give them a monopoly of having a base where people can connect with the continent of Africa without visiting Africa and as they do this it is expanding the export capability of African.

Connecting Africa from Antigua and Barbuda

Another interesting aspect of the project, as revealed by Akinboboye is not only that it would be a playground for the world to explore Africa but that from Antique and Barbuda, they can easily connect to all Africa.

This, he explained thus, ‘‘so, the idea is that when you have the first Africa Tourism Free Trade Zone everybody will come to play there. If the mountain fails to come to Mohammed then Mohammed will come to the mountain. We are taking Africans to the world.

‘‘Come to Antigua and from Antigua tourists can book to come to Lagos and from Lagos they can go to different parts of Africa. There are about 1.2 billion people of African ancestry and so you know what that means for Africa. What has been happening for long is that Africans don’t know that they are first regarded as Africans and not as Nigerian, Senegalese or Gambian.’’

It is time to go back to Africa on luxurious flights and cruises

For Akinboboye, Antigua and Barbuda is located in a strategic part of the world, with it playing a unique role during the obnoxious slave trade era as passage for Africans ferried across the world, he said it is now time to reverse that history by making it a return passage for people of African descent in the Diaspora and others back to African continent.

‘‘Antigua is like one hour flight from Miami and it is close to the US from almost every part and that is why it was used as a middle passage way during the slave trade era and that is why we are now using that middle passage for the return.

‘‘You left on a slave ship but now it’s time to return on a boat cruise. It’s time to go back on luxurious airlines. So we are no longer celebrating the poverty, the wretchedness but the prosperity of Africans.

‘‘Let’s turn a disadvantage to an advantage by making sure that everybody partakes in the drinking and be refreshed of the lemonade that we will create by creating such a platform.

Focus is purely Pan–African

In terms of its offerings, Akinboboye disclosed that it is going to be African centric, with African music, arts and crafts served in a unique palate for the visitors, as he stressed further that,

‘‘When we do this we create endless jobs for our people because it is an African themed concept. Our focus is going to be a very pan – African presentation. Our focus is purely going to be African.

‘‘Africa music, African folklore, African storytelling, and African dances. When we do our launch, we are looking at the middle of the month of May, we are going to present the best of African music, the authentic African music and that is what I have groomed Atunda Entertainment all these years for.’’

It took 16 years to work on the project

Getting the government of Antigua and Barbuda to decide to partner La Campagne on this project, Akinboboye said it wasn’t an easy ride as it took 16 years and countless meetings.

According to him, ‘‘It took us 16 years, meeting with parliament and different people. I have gone through two different prime ministers. It wasn’t easy because at first they did not understand the concept but now they do and they are more aggressive now than me because they gave a time limit that it must be done as quickly as possible.’’

African destination wedding beckons

For a starter, he disclosed some of the initial projects and activities to commence to include what he described as the African wedding paradigm by making it a wedding destination enclave.

“The structure will come as we are building the culture, so we are going to start with African destination weddings in Antigua. We are going to take exceptional weddings to Antigua.

‘‘Then we are going to move to some makeshift structures that will take care of day visitors (daycation) then we will start building accommodations, all of these will take off at the same time bearing in mind that it is a 100 hectare of land.

Project will be developed in phases

Given the picture painted by Akinboboye, this is a big project that will not come easy to develop, however, he said he is ready and prepared for it having done this for about 40 years.

As he explained that, ‘‘We are going to do it in phases, the first phase of it will be almost immediate, within the next 90 days. We have been at this for almost forty years and so we know how to tweak it.

‘‘There are two things that we are presenting to the world, we are presenting African’s architecture, structure and culture to the world. The culture doesn’t have to wait, so we are going to start with the presentation of the culture as we build the structure.

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  1. African tourism free trade zone. Almost 250 acres of land. Have we heard of free trade zones before and where are they today. Who will own the lands and what benefits will there be for Antiguans. Who will be employed in this zone, I guess Africans of course. It is an African zone. No wonder Gaston does not want to give up on the bankrupt apparent fraudulent Antiguan airline.
    You would think once bitten, twice shy, but the Antiguan government is in their own world.

    • The African employees came before the project so y’all can’t scream when they’re hired.
      Nothing happens by chance it’s all done by design.

      Election Money = Luxury Resort.

      • ……exactly…….. they will be hired 1st and ANTIGUANS WILL NOW HAVE TO KISS THEIR ARSES…..

  2. It is a beautiful thing that our peoples including our peoples from our Motherland the most resource rich continent on planet earth is making an investment of that caliber on our beautiful twin island. Let’s do all that we can to ensure this project succeed.

  3. I dream that one day that this government will help out the Antiguan businessmen and women as well, so that we can make this country thrive.

    Gaston opens the business doors to the syrians 🇸🇾, the Caucasians, the Chinese 🇨🇳, the United Kingdom, and now the Africans, which is all well and good, but when is he going to give the indigenous people a break, instead of continuously directing Antiguans into the HOSPITALITY sector.


    • Repeating lies will not help Brix.
      Why do you think we have the EDF. And they have given out more than $4million in small business loans to young local entrepreneurs. Why do you think locals can buy land for development at $3.00 per sqft. And lately the Pm have ordered the EDF to provide Equity financing. Something that had never been done before. You yourself saw and heard the PM in action at the recently held luncheon with the Chamber of Commerce. They were all hanging at his lips to find out how to go about making a certain investment. It is sad however that our people are so Risk Averse. They are always waiting to see how a foreigner comes and put his/her money where his mouth is, take the risks and when they reap the benefits, they get jealous. Get your money out of the banks where you get only 2% interest and put it to work for you and get in most cases at least 10% and more on your investment. You do not need to be involved in the business. You could be just an investor. The Equity finance funds need to be funded by the private sector and not the government. We need to find ways and means to take the monies out of the bank and bring them in circulation for the good of our country and the economy. That is why CLICO was able to come and take more than $300million from our savings out of the country. People trust the CLICO more than local investors and see where that got them.

      • I don’t lie Sidey (Brixtonian only deals with facts, figures and actual experience).

        At the height of the PANDEMIC, I was doing business in the UK at the time; and I tried to return to the country with my ANTIGUAN PASSPORT … and guess what?

        That’s right Gaston Browne barred critical thinking Antiguans from returning back home, because people like me refused the vaccine – I lost a small fortune!

        Looking back now, I thank the Lord that my due diligence paid off!

        Whereas, now the many citizens who listened and followed the lies are now living with the TICKING TIME-BOMB of the AstraZeneca vaccine floating in and around their bodies.

        Remember, at that time Gaston was the only Caribbean Prime Minister that banned his own NATIONALS from returning home.

        The prime minister realised his foolish and stupid mistake and he soon relented.


  4. Is this another Daven Joseph hairbrain scheme or is this a story to change the negative fall-out from the antigua airways fiasco?

    They know many antigans would believe any crap they spew, just like YIDA and the so call WISES special economic zone BS.

  5. SMH
    here we go again
    And this time, a partner for the PM in waxing lyrical & obfuscation; Akinboboye has long-winded lyrics of that we can all agree.
    If he has anything else remains to be seen.

  6. Boy i tell u .. no justice for us locals and citizens of antigua… when will we stand up
    Every tom dick and harry come here and get land.. when locals are turned a vlind eye when looking land to make something for them selves

  7. Boy i tell u .. no justice for us locals and citizens of antigua… when will we stand up
    Every tom dick and harry come here and get land.. when locals are turned a vlind eye when looking land to make something for them selves

  8. This is another ghost project that will not come to fruition. Sounds like another Yida/Dato Tan/Callaloo Cay con job. This government needs to go. They are getting us involved in all kinds of cuckoo nut job investment proposals that go nowhere and often blow up in our face. Gaston has lost perspective and his government are welcoming all conmen as investors. Time for Labour Party to go.

  9. So ……… The give away of our lands, on a MASSIVE Scale, continues ? How will this benefit Antiguans, as this seems to be a “State/Enclave” of Nigeria……. in Antigua !?
    Who are the local “partners”, if any ? How many acres are there in a hectare ? …. Is this why we STILL want to do business with the “marvelous” one ? …… Has this investor been thoroughly SNIFFED OUT ?

  10. The announcement of this is not coincidental and might be a public relations stunt aimed at druming up support and bring some positive light from all the African fiasco that has highlighted the news since the latter part of 2022. Positive investment is welcome but hope this is not just a giveaway and empty promise.

  11. Last week 30 Acres of Beach Front Property to an Investor.Now today,it is 247 Acres of lands at Willoughby Bay. What has become of the planned New City of Willoughby Bay?
    Is this another gimmick? Like that man who was suppose to save LIAT.Remmber that Nigerian who owns Air Peace,Nigeria.Gaston Browne,give us some truthful updates on that LIAT matter.

  12. Gaston and ALP supporters have destroyed Antigua. The crazy man not learned no lesson from his failed venture with Marvellous Mike, he is now embarking on another venture that will inevitably fail.

    Nigeria is not a tourist destination, because of its high level of corruption and unstable government 🙄.

    Gaston’s perpetual involvement with Nigeria will cause tourists to stop coming to Antigua, as wherever Nigerians goes crime follow them, especially fraud.

    Antiguans, brace yourselves for part 2.of Gaston & Nigeria scandal.

    • I agree, the Prime Minister’s stubbornness will eventually destroy Antigua & Barbuda; and years down the line (or sooner) people like me and you will remind everyone that “we told you so”.

  13. Great vision!
    Sounds like autopia, but will it end like a pipe dream because of lycrishness and …?

  14. Why are Antiguan people are so ignorant and stupid. No country can built on it own it takes investors, and immigrants from all walk of life to build a country. Antigua does not have what it takes to build a country. They can’t even maintaine the pot holes in Antigua. The great America and all western world was built on immigrants labour and sweats, so why shouldn’t the Africans get work also. Don’t a lot of Antiguand go to other country to make a better life and they also built the economy abroad. Antigua please think out of the box. None of us can take the land with us when we go. How is the country going to exist in the 21st century if we don’t have investors that are willing to come in and build structure and amenities for the people. The people are so lazy they don’t even want to to proper farming they wait for the white man to bring it in for them then they turn around complain that the foreigners want to take over their land when they won’t do for themself.

    • My gosh, did you even think before writing all this nonsense ? Stop repeating things you hear others say trying to sound intelligent.

  15. When they are in the Whiteman country they work all kind of hours, seven days a week, but in the Island they want to go home at 5pm everything is closed, what about putting more time in your country and work a little harder to build your country. All I hear foreigner are getting all the land but do you know how much the foreigner has to pay to buy a peice of land here especially if you are a none citizens. Foreigner are the one that is holding up this country without us you people would starve here. Does Antigua have an industrial state. If it was not for tourism how would you survive. The most important thing to worry about is what is put in place by Browne to protect the citizen of this country so that they are not treated as second class citizens and without rights, and that nothing and nowhere is off limit to them that is my main concerns and that the Whiteman don’t turn us into slaves again by our own government.

    • @Delorice,
      Antigua has issues of lack of rain etc. that makes certain kinds of farming difficult, which is one reason for high imports. However, if the entire Caribbean region traded with each other more, we could probably bring down our food import bill some more. Antigua is currently a vacation spot for people around the world fleeing cold weather, busy cities etc. If we start running businesses night and day then that destroys our relaxed, island paradise vibe. Furthermore, many successful countries have a good work-life balance. People don’t need to work late to be successful. We also have perfect surises and sunsets, but that means it is dark here in the evening, unlike other countries that have bright skies at night. So, we would need a lot of expensive lighting and safety infrastructure to be out late all the time. We need to diversify our economy a bit, but we don’t need to completely destroy things that got us to where we are today.

    • We were NEVER starving in Antigua before the influx of foreigners. In fact, it was/is some of the foreigners that were/are starving why they end up here. It’s Antigua where many of them live their best lives. If Antiguans were living like some citizen of foreign countries lived, it would not be a safe place for foriegners to come. Why don’t they migrate to Haiti? So, y’all have some nerve talking shit about Antiguans. We lived peacefully before y’all came and y’all didn’t have to fear for your lives when y’all arrived here. So fuck you ungrateful foriegners!!!

  16. Delorice,
    You should read the article and see who these so-called investors intend to benefit. It will be Africa. They will create jobs for Africans. They will create a market for African goods. How will Antigua and ordinary Antiguans benefit? This will be a free trade zone. So no taxes to the Antiguan government, they can bring in all their employees, and they pay no duty on imports. The only Antiguans who gain from these free trade zones are the politicians and their cabal. In the meantime, millions were spent on infrastructure and an RO plant in Bethesda. Waiting to see a copy of the signed agreement.

  17. You want to tell me that nobody in the ABLP CABINET knows that 108 is a finite figure.

    When 108 ends what will the Cabinet do?

    Sell persons****? That word means something.

  18. I kind of like the African village hotel idea. It could be a good concept if well done and well marketed. The Africans could be employed without affecting the rest of the job market, and the trade might benefit Africa. Perhaps the brand could expand to other locations over time. But, not really liking the free trade zone no tax part. Maybe low tax even 1% instead. It’s only fair to allow locals here to benefit. There should also be a requirement to have a certain percentage quota of locals involved. Antiguans have some expertise in tourism. So, locals should have jobs as part of the Project Management Team. Local contractors should be involved in building, and some local staff can work in the back office in support roles such as IT etc. Perhaps Nigerians etc. will stop committing frauds if they have real businesses to invest in, but, in the meantime, there should also be a police task force permanently in place to investigate fraud in case scams rise. Before rushing in to the whole thing, the government should show substantial evidence of having thoroughly investigated the persons involved in this business. Imho

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