27 January 2014

Nigeria: Lagos - a City Where You Keep Up or Fall Behind


You fail to take Nigeria seriously at your peril. The country's economy is tipped to take over from South Africa as the continent's largest in the near future, with its annual growth rate more than three times that of South Africa.

And it's not just the economy growing: today, one African in four is a Nigerian. Nigeria's population has grown by 268% in the last 50 years, to over 166 million today. Lagos, its biggest city, is said to be the seventh fastest-growing metropolis in the world. REBECCA DAVIS tried to wrap her head around it.

When you step out of the doors of Lagos's Murtala Muhammed International Airport, two things strike you straight away. The first is the hair-curling humidity, day or night. The second is the sea of people waiting outside: brandishing signs, yelling, competing to attract visitors' attention. Scams around airport pick-ups are legion, with tales circulating of fraudsters collecting new arrivals with tailor-made name placards and sweeping them off to be robbed blind. The airport's ecosystem is a microcosm of Lagos itself: chaotic, loud, fast-moving and ready to take advantage of those who approach it unaware.

One of Lagos's most prominent chroniclers in recent years has...

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