The rapid transformation of the City of Lagos in the last five years got world attention at the weekend as two renowned international bodies, Citigroup and Urban Land Institute, ranked her as one of two most innovative cities in Africa. The other city is Cape Town in South Africa.
Citigroup and Urban Land Institute which assess cities worldwide in terms of sustainability and livability, ranked Lagos and Cape Town the most innovative cities in Africa in the list of the world’s 25 most innovative cities.
According to the ranking, Lagos got the nod of the international bodies for its population, rapid progress and potential as well as positive economic climate and potential for investors while Cape Town was ranked for its green space and massive investment in public transportation, technological research and the environment.
In terms of Economic potential, Lagos Port was ranked for accounting for 80 percent of Nigeria’s seaport activity while the City itself accounts for about one quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with USD 33 billion and the population in excess of 18 million making it the most populous city on the list of 25.
Lagos, according to the ranking, was also included in recognition of the innovative and transformational leadership of the head of Government of the City of Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN)who, according to the international ranking bodies, “spearheaded the introduction of the Innovative Advisory Council which deals primarily with Science and Technology”
“Upon the establishment of the Council, Governor Fashola reportedly stated: ‘Cities that fail to harness the power of innovation will eventually become the customers of those that do’”, Citigroup and the Urban Land Institute said.
A statement from Urban Land Institute which said the shortlisted cities “provide new avenues which reflect remarkable, forward-thinking decisions on the part of municipal leadership”, also described Lagos as one of the “Big S” cities in Africa and predicted that it may soon overtake Johannesburg as the Continent’s business hub
Coming barely five years after the commencement of massive infrastructural renewal programme of the Babatunde Fashola administration, the recent rating has confirmed the established fact that the City of Lagos is gradually realizing its dream of becoming Africa’s model mega-city.
Taking a cursory look at the meticulous implementation of the various developmental programmes of the present administration, from the infrastructure renewal programme through the integrated transport system to the beautification and greening of the city, it is little surprise that the City of Lagos should catch the attention of the world rating body.
Cape Town was rated due to their green space ration of 290 square metre per person as against the world index average of 74 sqm per person as well as its massive investment in public transport infrastructure (in the shape of the Integrated Rapid Transport System), a project which is estimated to cost nearly USD 6 billion by the time it is completed.
The City is also favoured by the rating international bodies as a result of the use of technology and research in operations in its Harbour as well as concern for the environment and in the way they use land.