Thursday, November 19, 2009

During a recent conversation with an American friend of mine, I tried to explain to her that Lagos was one of the most expensive cities in the world. It was hard for her to understand, and it was hard for me to fully explain to her as I did not have a whole bunch of statistics on my side.

Well, it turns out that Mercer's 2009 Cost of Living Index did all the work for me. According to the rankings, Lagos, Nigeria, the nation's flashy commercial capital, is the 32nd most expensive country in the world and the 5th most expensive city in the Africa/Middle East region behind Tel Aviv, Israel, Dubai (UAE), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Doualla (Cameroon). Lagos, Nigeria also beat out many well known American and European locations such as Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Berlin, Brussels and Miami. Considering the fact that certain venues will cost upwards of $15,000 to host a wedding reception, it is no surprise that Lagos is one of the world's most expensive cities.

Lagos, Nigeria
But, what does this mean for the less fortunate who happen to live in Lagos? People from across the country and in fact, the West African region, flock to Lagos because of the economic potential. Everyone there is a businessperson, selling their wares in traffic jams or elsewhere, but not everyone drives the fancy luxury cars or lives the fancy life Lagos is increasingly becoming known for. So, how do these people survive? While it is a pleasure to see Lagos sitting shoulder to shoulder with its non African peers, one cannot help but worry that the reality of the rising cost of living is a bane for the majority of residents. For instance, to rent an apartment, one must pay at least 2 years rent upfront. This is not an easy feat anywhere in the world, talk less of Lagos.

Nevertheless, Lagos continues to take great strides to improve the lot of its residents. From beautification projects, to improved waste disposal management and a successful transportation system, the state government is trying to create a metropolis that works. Free trade zones are also bringing employment opportunities and tourism is now being pushed aggressively. There is a lot of good news when it comes to Lagos, despite how expensive it is.

That being said, as one whose family has lived in Lagos state for over 60 years, and still has family living in the same home my grandparents raised their children in, I join other Lagosians to chant its praise - Eko Ni Baje, lai lai. Translated, 'Lagos will never ever spoil'.

From The Archives:
- Nigerian Curiosity of 2008 (Fashola and the 2011 Election)
- Creating A Better & Cleaner Lagos
- Nigerians & Discrimination
- How To Fix This Road...
- MEND Attack In Lagos
- Is 'Lagos Justice' Truly Justice?

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Shadenonconform said...

haha. It's no surprise that Lagos is ranked as one the most expensive cities in the world. I mean just to buy basic amenities like food or clothes or like you mentioned to rent an apartment or visit the, one has to pay through his or her wa o...I always worry about people who live in lagos but do not have adequate finances....won't they suffer? God dey...

But i'm definitely loving the beautification/conservation/transportation projects that are occuring..thanks to Governor Fash...True talk...Eko Ni Baje....Ami..

It's amazing that Lagos is more expensive than DC..that's so crazy....

NaijaBabe said...

I can imagine and I'm sure Abuja is on its way there too.

Dee! said...

Yes O! Eko o ni baje!

Even though Lagos is expensive, people rush there daily!

Omosi Thisgirl said...

The thing about Lagos is that it is as expensive as you make it. Balogun no dey again? As for Abuja, it is downright unreasonable, haba

Sugabelly said...

The real question here is: Why is your American friend having such a hard time believing that Lagos is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Obviously your friend already had a pre-conceived nation that Lagos = African City, therefore Lagos = Poor and Decrepit.

No surprises there.

I know it's always great to argue with statistics on your side, but it makes me mad that we constantly have to prove our humanity to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

True, "Eko o ni baje', but also, true is the fact that at least 30% of the people in Lagos simply have no business being there.

Why? Many people in Lagos will live more honourable lives in their home town than be subjected to the continous harassment by the state officials in whatever form. risk their lives "...selling their wares in traffic jams...". do menial jobs for pittance as salaries.

Yes, when we understand that not everyone can go to a Harvard or an Oxford then, we will appreciate that not everyone can live (or should be) in Lagos.

Tough but,.....

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t said...

It's expensive and materialistic. Like New York. Like any big city, the economy has several layers, so find your level. But of course everyone wants to be in the top level where it's most expensive. Inflation here is c-razy, like what seemed like too expensive last year feels like pocket change this year.

Choices everyday - the bus or a fancy taxi? hunker down to work on the mainland or get a fancy address? buy a pirated DVD for 20hrs of viewing or pay ten times that to watch one film in the theater?

The infrastructure is quite rubbish, even if it has improved in recent years. Which takes us to rethots' comment: why do so many people want to die in Lagos when life can be better elsewhere?

Seyi said...

Eko o ni baje o!

olaoluwatomi said...

I would say Abuja is more expensive if facts were not on my side!
Housing is downright ridiculous, transport you'd be better off buying your own car, food seems to be about the same as other northern states i think!

N.I.M.M.O said...

If this is true then I am somehow pleased. At least we get a mention for something other than the negative.

But wait o! Is that Doualla I see there ahead of Lagos? How come? We need to work harder at our expensiveness in Lagos o! By next year, we should be in 3rd place at least.

I agree with Rethot, many people in Lagos have no business being here. If only the people of Ogun state will just elect a better Governor who thinks about the people (rather than just erecting billboards), they can take up the overflow profitably.

Lady X said...

I agree with olaoluwatomi. Abuja is more expensive. I live in both cities(I spend time in both Lagos and Abuja a lot) though I grew up in Lagos. You can even tell the difference when you go shopping for groceries.

Carl @ Harvard Application said...

no surprise there, it's a city that has high standard of living.

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