Africa

5 Reasons Why Lagos is Better than Your Best Cities

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Lagos is better than its perceived image of a chaotic, noisy and exploitive African city. Africa’s 7th largest economy face some peculiar challenges but possess the telltale of a city on a normal road to economic expansion.

A recent publication by Global accounting and consultancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) scored the Nigerian city ‘not-so-flamboyant’ on human values. It singled out the quality of living, housing, preparedness for natural disaster, operational and workforce management risk, senior well-being, transportation and infrastructure, among others, as the bane of dissent in people’s perspective on the largest metropolitan area in Africa.

Primed for a robust economic growth in 5 to 10 years, many wouldn’t have agreed more with indication that Lagos is a more sustainable city than Dubai. PwC went as far as determining that in their extensive survey.

Cities of Opportunity: Lagos is getting a first rating in the PwC’s Cities of Opportunities series – first published in 2007. This year’s report revealed unique advancements among 30 of the major cities of the world.

Out of a total of 67 variables considered, some of the key metrics across 10 indicator categories bigged up Nigeria’s Lagos’ efforts in waste management, taxation and transport services. We highlight the key finds from the report in this post.

Traffic congestion in Lagos isn’t that a big deal after all?

Lagos is Better

Lagosians have their way round every bumper-to-bumper. Image Credit: Stefan Bohm Photo.

It takes some getting used to but Lagos is better. Like in other highly populated cities of the world and, since rush hours can be any hour in Lagos, ‘Lagosians’ snap at a chance to hit the road first, mornings and evenings. Yet they hardly get to use a freeway (in the actual sense of it). Government’s investment in transport services look to be paying off, but there’s need to further encourage patronage by vehicle owners. Back to the PwC report, Mexico City is believed to be the most traffic-congested, followed by Lagos. Further check with online traffic index list doesn’t even include Lagos. Bangkok, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow have long been known for having more cars on the road.


A range of messages can be drawn from the pattern. But most important, a well-functioning city delivers on its responsibility to shared well-being.


Better environment for entrepreneurs

Lagos is Better

Lagos Might only Have Just a Handful of FDI’s But This is Ford Foundations’Office. Image Credit: Ford Foundation.

Lagos is considered a better entrepreneurial‌‌ environment than Mumbai, India; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was also reflected in the city’s positioning for startups, beating the earlier mentioned three and Jarkata to rank 25th-best on ease of starting business. There is however need to improve staffing risk to minimal as it concerns finding right professionals, talent development and some governmental policies which could be preventing right people from getting the right jobs. These factors are closely related with intellectual capital, technology readiness, health, safety, and security where Lagos really need some drastic improvement, if it were to ever meet the likes of Amsterdam, Singapore, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo.

    Indicator Categories:

  • “Tools” for a changing world:
    1. Intellectual capital and innovation
    2. Technology readiness
    3. City gateway—that a city increasingly needs in a globally integrated, knowledge-based world
  • Quality of life:
    1. Transportation and infrastructure
    2. Health, Safety and security
    3. Sustainability and the Natural Environment
    4. Demographics and livability
  • Cities’ economic potency:
    1. Economic clout
    2. Ease of doing business
    3. Cost

Better waste management

Lagos is Better

Recycling engine parts, an area of Lagos, where all manner of engine, cars parts are reconditioned or resold. Image Credit: Bode Ola.

With over 20 million people, Lagos’ population has always portend dangers of environmental effect, but the government’s waste management system has succeeded in keeping a large portion of the city clean. Recent confirmation of oil production in the state is expected to stretch her waste-to-energy efficiency in future.

More jobs in Lagos

Lagos is Better

The people in the fishing village of Orimedu (Lagos State) have benefited greatly from Nigeria’s Fadama II project. Image Credit: Arne Hoel / World Bank

Lagos registered the best Job growth out of the 30 cities in review. The Nigerian city also made the top 10 cities projected for a better GDP growth over the next 5-10 years, finishing sixth overall just behind San Francisco, Mumbai, Shanghai, Jarkata and Kualar Lumpur. Internally generated revenue – in form of taxation – has been the bedrock of her economy, as prospect of oil production is expected to attract some targeted investment soon. Improvement in foreign direct investment and productivity is envisioned to follow suit.

Lagos is better in terms of cost competitiveness

Lagos is Better

Lekki Concession Centre. Image Credit: DocSlyper Photos.

If you’ve ever lived in a city where you don’t get to manage your expenses effectively, look here. Assessing basic expenses could be difficult (especially when you consider a variable like purchasing power which, these days, is highly tied to the dollar exchange rate). While some of the world’s revered cities like Paris, New York, London and Shanghai struggle in areas of personal tax and cost of living, Lagos did impressively well to post a medium overall score for affordability. If Lagos is to keep attracting skilled young professionals, government must work on helping the city break into top ten for rent affordability (ranked 22nd in the PwC survey).

    Actual Rating

  1. London
  2. Singapore
  3. Toronto
  4. Paris
  5. Amsterdam
  6. New York
  7. Stockholm
  8. San Francisco
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Sydney
  11. Seoul
  12. Berlin
  13. Chicago
  14. Los Angeles
  15. Tokyo
  16. Madrid
  17. Dubai
  18. Milan
  19. Beijing
  20. Kuala Lumpur
  21. Shanghai
  22. Moscow
  23. Mexico City
  24. Johannesburg
  25. São Paulo
  26. Bogotá
  27. Rio de Janeiro
  28. Jakarta
  29. Mumbai
  30. Lagos

    Perceived Ratings (Best Cities)

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. New York
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Sydney
  6. Berlin
  7. Tokyo
  8. Toronto
  9. Stockholm
  10. Los Angeles
  11. San Francisco
  12. Dubai
  13. Milan
  14. Madrid
  15. Chicago
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Singapore
  18. Beijing
  19. Seoul
  20. Rio
  21. Shanghai
  22. Moscow
  23. Johannesburg
  24. Kuala Lumpur
  25. Mexico City
  26. São Paulo
  27. Mumbai
  28. Jakarta
  29. Bogotá
  30. Lagos



References : Numbeo database of user contributed data.

Cities of Opportunities 7

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