Learning from Lagos: How Cities Can Help Save Countries

Improvements in governance and quality of life in Lagos stand in sharp contrast to the political squabbling and mismanagement that plague the rest of Nigeria. Seth D. Kaplan argues that Lagos can provide a model for other fragile states.
January 12, 2014, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Even though it remains a slum-ridden and largely impoverished metropolis, with an exploding population estimated at 21 million (of Nigeria’s 170 million people), [Lagos] has seen steady improvement in its governance for over a decade," observes Kaplan. "The government has enhanced public transportation, cleaned up streets, upgraded the business environment and bettered the lives of its inhabitants."

In contrast, "Nigeria is arguably the worst run of the world’s seven most populated countries," he adds. What accounts for the discrepancy? Accountability and autonomy, says Kaplan. "Nigeria, of all places, may be pointing the way to a strategy by which fragile states might begin to succeed: Devolve more power to cities from their corrupt and overcentralized national governments." 

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Published on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 in The New York Times
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