Lagos: An Urban Everest
Special Advisor, The Brenthurst Foundation
Researcher, The Brenthurst Foundation
Machel-Mandela Fellow, The Brenthurst Foundation
Architect, South Africa
Lagos is Africa’s Everest. With an estimated population of 21 million, to which 3 000 new migrants are added each day, Lagos represents both the promise of economic opportunity and the burden on city governments to provide urban infrastructure, especially decent housing, mass transport and adequate electricity supply. Lagosians spend nearly three billion hours in traffic each year, and two-thirds of the city reside in slum conditions. What stands out, however, is the resilience of Lagosians themselves, equipped with fortitude and determination in the absence of functioning systems. Still, there is a dire need for public projects to be planned, financed and executed better.
This Discussion Paper provides insight into how Lagos functions, the challenges it faces across the sectors of Governance, Economic Growth, Housing, Infrastructure including Transport, Electricity and Waste Management, and how policy has tried, and at times failed, to address them. Drawing on examples of international best practice, it presents the Brenthurst Foundation’s low-cost, in situ housing scheme developed in partnership with the Lagos State Government that may not only provide a solution to Lagos’ housing crisis, but the continent's.
As Africa’s most populous city, Lagos encapsulates the continent’s urban development challenges at scale and proves useful for study by other, burgeoning cities.