Friday, March 26, 2010

The folks at The Economist created a list of the best and worst cities to live in. Based on an exacting and rigorous process, they decided that Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, is the 5th worst city out of 140 featured in a 2010 Global Liveability Report. On this list, Lagos was only surpassed by the 4 following cities - Ports Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Algiers, Algeria, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Harare, Zimbabwe. In the 2006/2007 version of the report, Lagos ranked as the 3rd least liveable city. So, technically, one could say that moving up 2 spots since then is a good thing.
However, this list is as dubious as any list could get. One cannot help but wonder how a city like Lagos is in the top 10 least liveable cities but cities that have high rates of kidnapping (such as Bogota, Columbia), have practically lawless borders and harbor Islamic militants (such as Asuncion, Paraguay), have incredible high rates of rape and murder (such as Johannesburg, South Africa) or are blighted with poverty and vicious drug wars (such as Mexico City, Mexico and other towns bordering the U.S.) are not granted that distinction of the top most unliveable cities.

But, it is no matter. Although Lagos is indeed a growing metropolis struggling to accommodate the influx of Nigerians and non-Nigerians seeking opportunities, those who know and appreciate Lagos know that despite the cities issues, this is also Lagos -

While it is clear that much more work is needed to transform Lagos into a truly modern and cosmopolitan city, the facts indicate that it is well on its way. Lagos State is the 32nd most expensive country in the world and the 5th most expensive city in the Africa/Middle East region. In 2007, Lagos State achieved an unprecedented GDP of N3.68 trillion ($29.028 billion) in 2007 meaning the state had the 6th largest GDP among African cities and 118th among all cities of the world. And, to really provide some context, the GDP of Lagos State in 2007 equaled that of the nation of Kenya and was greater than those of neighboring Cameroon, Cote d’lvoire and Ghana. It is also interesting to note that another ranking generated by The Economist gives Nigeria a 'country risk' rating of 'Stable'. That country risk rating seems inconsistent given that another of The Economist's rankings suggests that a city in Nigeria is not just unliveable but possibly dangerous, a conclusion many of its readers will likely come to.

Unfortunately, Lagos's problems cannot be ignored and they no doubt weighed heavily in determining its rank. From inconsistent electricity supply to incongruous traffic jams and a high disparity between the haves and the have nots. However, as is the case with lists, rankings such as the Global Liveability Report tend to be subjective and do not necessarily consider additional relevant circumstances that help to put places like Lagos, and its progress in context.

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola insisted on considering this latest ranking a positive - noting that

"it is a plus that Lagos is among the 140 cities rated in the world. While city like Accra was not there, we have 10 of American cities and perhaps five Canadian cities in the ratings.”
This writer, however, sees this ranking as an opportunity for not just Lagos, but Nigeria to prove the naysayers wrong in due time by improving living conditions for all, regardless of sex, tribe, religion or socioeconomic status. Ultimately, there is nothing sweeter than success. 2010 is the year Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain, and this should be the year the country pivots towards a future of success.

From The Archives:
- Elite Living & 'Effizy' in Lagos
- Lagos - One Of The World's Most Expensive Cities
- The Nigerian Curiosity of 2008
- Creating A Better & Cleaner Lagos
- Nigeria is Home To The World's Largest Cyber Cafe

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Anonymous said...

Lagos is probably the worst city according to the cosy Western standards of pampered comforts, it is probably the best city for those who live there and aspire to live there.

It is relative, in this case the survey panders to a particular clientele and audience - to agitate is to give this credence.

Lagos would always be wonderful to all those who have had the real opportunity of living there rather than for analysts with their subjective criteria who are there to tick off boxes for their so-called study.

- Akin from Facebook

Anonymous said...

Akin you've said it all, Lagos for sure has its problems just as Paris, London, new york, and all the cities of this world have their peculiar problems, whether we like it or not, westerners will continue to place Lagos in their list of worst cities, now just like evaluating the work of art, one may perhaps say Lagos is a "terrible art" whose beauty could be synopsised in tragedy and found in all that is grotesque, bold, and complex.

The superposition of reality and series of emotion that gives what we call 'human experience' is what makes my Lagos so adorable. One could say the beauty of lagosians is in their constant quest for a better way to live, the uncertainty of reality keeps the city in perpetual movement and permits improvisation, which is exactly what the city of the future needs, a dead city cannot be the ideal model for the future city, in Lagos we permit ourselves to be alive, it could be hell as much as it could be a paradise depending on the situation and our present individual sense of humour.

However "according to the cosy Western standards of OVER pampered comforts" underlined by arrogance and paranoia, a city of organised disorderliness like Lagos will not pass in the book of the 'analyst'. Have you seen the Asians in alaba market and computer village? have you seen them pricing fish and tomatoes in the popular markets, engaging and gradually being part of daily life, perhaps that is the liberty Lagos denies them, so one could understand why such level of jealousy and acrimony. ... See More

Not to get me wrong though, there is ultimate beauty in all that is soulful as blues, 'peaceful' and organised, but their realm of refinement should not nullify the beauty of rock n roll or electronic music for that matter, i admire those who are very arranged in their life not because i hate my disorderliness, and i will be the first to jump out through the window if everyone will be a clone of myself.



- Q'dance from Facebook

Anonymous said...

I don't know the criteria they use for their rating because to me Lagos is a cool place minus the traffic to live

- Cupidsgift from Twitter

Anonymous said...

Just read your blog & I reckon the Economist should go & siddon somewhere.

- Pixgremlin from Twitter

Beauty said...

I stopped wearing my I Love LS t-shirt since the harmattan made it hard to breathe in Lagos, whose air already polluted by swarms of beat-up cars navigating potholed streets and by electrical generators that provide power during frequent blackouts. Does the yellow fog that made the setting sun give off no more light than the moon have anything to do with the ranking? Up or down, the ranking is as irrelevant as Nigeria itself since we are yet to deliver measurable benefits to most that really needed it.

Tininu said...

I think often we forget to look at the bigger picture. Lagos does not =vi, lekki and ikoyi. Those places are fine and can be compared to other cities or even countries.

But then there is oshodi, agidingbi,mile 12 and so on. These places do make up lagos and are a bigger percentage of lagos then the island(lekki, vgc, ikoyi), futhermore they have a population that makes the inhabitant of the island look less significant. This what they judge lagos by and statistically i see no reason why they shouldn't..

While 4 people sleep in a 6 bedroom house with 3 living rooms and a semi detached dog house. In mile-12, 6 people share a room that size for size is 6 square feet bigger than my dog house.

Anonymous said...

I agree

- @KathyReiff from Twitter

Jinta said...

have the chaps at the economist ever heard of mogadishu, or is it more convinient not to rank some cities?

Sam123 said...

Lagos is a very dirty city. You will know what i mean if you have been outside Nigeria. Even the closeby cotonou is better.

flights to lagos said...

In fact Lagos is the pearl of the Africa due to its natural beauty but now it is up to the people and Govt how the maintain this city.

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