Ex-US president Bill Clinton witnessed the inauguration in Lagos Thursday of the first phase of a giant housing project being built on an artificial terrain and expected to house 250,000 people.
The Eko Atlantic, situated on upbeat Victoria Island in Nigeria's economic capital, and constructed on dredged sand in deep ocean covering nine square kilometres, will have a capacity to provide jobs to 150,000 people daily, organisers said.
The totally private project was conceived when "erosion persisted and began to claim our shoreline, redefine our geographical boundaries, consume our existing roads, and evict citizens from their properties to the shoreline", Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola said.
Clinton, who attended the ceremony along with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, said: "I believe that within five years, people will be coming from everywhere just to look at the wall".
"You have said let's protect ourselves and build something beautiful, something that will last, something that will create opportunities and employment, and advanced aspirations, and brand the city, brand the state, brand this nation as a nation of the 21st century", he added.
Eko Atlantic, touted as "African Dubai", with luxury flats, several marinas, commercial centres and offices, will be totally auto-managed with its own water and electric power supplies and even its security system is independent.
The city will be totally independent of the Lagos metropolis, Africa's second largest city after Cairo. Lagos has a population of some 15 million.
Eko Atlantic is a project of Gilbert and Ronald Chagoury, two brothers of Lebanese origin, presiding over a large financial empire in Nigeria.