Among the developing world, Africa is the fastest developing continent, according to a 2011 study by Siemens. The study revealed that the lower the number of people living in informal settlements, the more successful a city is. In the last decade, Africa’s urban population has doubled. It now has the highest percentage of city inhabitants in informal settlements in the world. Forty percent of Africa’s populations now live in urban areas. Africa is beginning to suffer from urban sprawl as a result from its change in population density.
When urbanization takes place so quickly, it is imperative that the government and the city stay competitive globally. Some of the larger needs for infrastructure are in power and transportation, access to medical care and education. According to How We Made it in Africa, Africa spends about $45 billion a year on infrastructure, although $90 billion per year or more is needed. However, given that there is a large deficit, there are prospects for the private sector to invest in the infrastructure. Occasionally, the private sector invests with assistance from the government.
Lagos, a city in Nigeria, is growing rapidly, currently with about 18 million inhabitants. It is considered one of the fastest expanding cities. The city includes a large population of transnational companies, and it is where about half of the country’s skilled workers live. As a result, Lagos is among one of Africa’s top five largest markets for consumer goods. It also has the highest standard of living in Nigeria. Although, Lagos’ infrastructure growth has not followed it’s population increase. The city requires a stronger infrastructure though private sector innovation.
Working within the private sector improves the infrastructure. It requires transparency and a sense of security among investors. Terms, conditions, and policies must be stable and must not effect investments. This establishes credibility. Creating a good framework and clearly outlined policy, sometimes including governments assistance, makes a competitive and bankable project. In business, visibility creates opportunities.
The Quadrant Company is the first PR firm incorporated in Lagos. It is innovation; doing business across West Africa. It also has offices in Ghana. It has represented products and events ranging from tackling unemployment in Nigeria, creating economic spaces by reducing poverty through innovation, and tacking the nation’s water issues.
At a recent workshop, outlined by Nigeria Communications Week, organized by a Lagos research and development group, local officials discussed collaboration to create industrialization. Smaller and medium companies should pool resources with academic institutions and agencies performing research to create further industrialization. Innovation was also discussed as the main force behind growth and employment.
Increased and rapid urban development, as well as population expansion, has brought about several issues in Lagos. These include water and waste management, as well as sanitation issues. There is stress on the infrastructure and the traffic control system. However, working in the private sector and creating projects and innovation, such as a means for a better water supply, can establish infrastructural strength.