How a Growing Megalopolis Will Redefine Africa's Economic and Political Boundaries

Within a few decades, explosive population growth in West Africa will create an urbanized area similar in size to America's eastern seaboard between Boston and D.C., "only far more populous." At one pole is Lagos, a "powerful new city-state."

"Here and there already, [Africa's] biggest cities are spawning enormous urban corridors that are spilling over borders and creating vigorous new economic zones that are outstripping the ability of weak and plodding central governments to manage or even retain their hold on them," writes Howard W. French.

"Lagos, which sits in the southwestern corner of Nigeria, sprawled over a collection of islands and swampy coastlands, occupies the leading edge of this phenomenon. Today, its extraordinary growth is driving sweeping changes in a five-country region that stretches 500 miles westward along a band of palm-shaded seaboard all the way to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, a mushrooming city of perhaps six million people that has long been this region's other major economic and cultural pole."

"In between them, in one of the busiest staging areas of the historic Atlantic slave trade, West Africa is laying the foundations of one of the world's biggest megalopolises, and in Lagos itself, the start of a potentially powerful new city-state."

Full Story: How Africa's New Urban Centers Are Shifting Its Old Colonial Boundaries

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