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​Lagos: Challenges of being 6th largest city in the world

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“Lagos is on track to be either a city of 36 million people or the 6th largest city in the world after Mumbai, Delhi, Dhaka, Kinshasa, and Kolkata.” These were the words of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos at the 1st Lagos State Infrastructure Round Table hosted by the state government in collaboration with the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) in Lagos.
Ambode also affirmed the dearth of infrastructure in Lagos regarded as a growing mega-city and promised to lay the foundation for transforming it into a city ahead of Tokyo, Karachi, New York, and Mexico City, adding that he would continue to search for new and innovative ways to drive infrastructure development and economic independence.
But the big question is how this can be achieved without a genuine effort to develop the inter lands and remove slums as well as impact greatly on rural settlements within the state.
The government has also been unable to keep pace with the demand for the provision of affordable housing, good road network, particularly in the inter-lands and rural areas and of course basic amenities such as water, electricity, health centres, education, and employment.
Lagos is only growing in population but without corresponding infrastructure development and because of the attendant challenges in getting affordable housing, many Lagosians have moved to rural areas, creating new belts of settlements.
In fact, with the presence increase in slums and rural settlements in Lagos suburbs, it is an indication that hundreds of thousands of people are living in appalling housing structures, crumbling roads, and lack social amenities.
A visit to Adamo, Agunfoye, Mojoda, Araromi, Ipoyewa and Isiu, in Ikorodu North Development area will reveal the sorry state of infrastructure making livelihood difficult for residents. However, some of the affluent areas still lack some of these facilities such as Festac, Ikeja, etc.
According to the Governor at the forum, “as at 2015, our state had 16,000km network of roads but with a daily human traffic of over 7.5 million people and 2.8 million cars.
“The power needs of the state are over 10,000 mw of power but we receive less than 2,000mw.
“We presently supply 210.5 million gallons of water per day (“mgpd”) as against a demand of 750 mgpd”.
The governor said that the deficit could only be imagined in 2017 as well as the challenges and pressures on the physical and social infrastructure that came with it.
Governor Ambode argued that there was the need to carefully assess situations and take careful and deliberate actions to handle the challenges that face the state.
He noted that it was important to take actions that would not only affect the people’s livelihood today, but also protect the future of the younger generations.
He said: “In government, we do not have all the answers. That is the truth. That is why we are here.
“I hope to get some answers because we represent hope to many people and we must provide for all who make Lagos their home,” the governor said.
He said that it was important to take actions that would not only affect the people’s livelihood today, but also protect the future of the younger generations.
In his keynote address, Prof. John Macomber identified massive urbanisation, worsening resources scarcity and inability of most governments to invest in infrastructure as three trends driving economic development in the world.
Macomber is the Faculty Chair, Harvard Business School, Africa Research Office.
He said that large global capital with technological breakthrough was now combining to a new era in private investment in public infrastructure around the world. How these three trends will impact on the economic development of a mega city like Lagos, only time will tell.

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