Archives for category: Politics

A great blog post on Nigeria’s plans to build a new centennial “smart” city (more of a district) for 100k people in its capital Abuja (itself a planned city that was built in the 1980s). While praising the socially and environmentally conscious planning approach that promises “a mature vibrant ecosystem,” the piece reminds us that new cities in developing countries are almost always reliant on fickle market driven investors hoping to reap huge economic playoffs from these “green and sustainable” international business hubs by quite simply plundering its countryside. These ambitious, environmentally conscious, new city projects are in themselves fantastic examples of planning and social responsibility, but as the post points out, at some point we have to take a step back and question whether our capitalist economy and its byproduct of violent ecological damage are themselves sustainable, and how do we plan and build a better version?

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$6 per day, NOT per hour. Which breaks down to 75 cents per hour (it seems like there must be an 8 hour day labor law as well). I had no idea so many African countries had minimum wage laws on the books–according to wikipedia, a majority of the continent does. Liberia’s new law is by far on the higher end with lower end being around $1.83 a day in the DRC. I’d love to see reports on how widely these laws are followed and enforced or even what percentage of laborers are aware of them. A good place to start might be looking see if multinational corporations obey them.

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550 million of the world’s 1 billion without power live in Africa. President Obama has started a “Power Africa” initiative to provide 10 gigawatts of power at a cost of 7 billion dollars…but Africa currently needs 330 gigawatts with population growth expected to explode over the next half center. How will Africa’s new cities be powered?Image

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When the old isn’t working or is just too cumbersome to overhaul….simply build a brand new city from scratch! At least that’s what these projects intend to do. Most of these future cities are in the initial/early periods of funding/construction but they will be fascinating to follow as they begin opening for business. They’re all located next to some of the continent’s largest decaying/overcrowded urban areas–what will become of those when these glitzy new international business orientated centers are fully functional? I can imagine a mass rush of people pouring towards the promises of these new cities (if only as day commuters since they’ll likely be exorbitantly expensive places to live like Victoria Island in Lagos in currently), abandoning the rusting infrastructure and informally organized cities just miles away. Will there be an influx control mechanism built into these new centers? A passcard system? We know how well planned capitals like Dodoma and Abuja have played out in Africa; will an urban area backed by international corporate investment lead to different results? Part two coming soon.  Eko Atlantic project constructed on man-made sandbar in the harbor of Lagos:

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is expected to top 1.3B by 2030. What does the soon to follow increase of corporate spurred consumerism mean for urban Africa? A sense of being connected to global culture trends and ideas through fashion and design? Or the kind of rampant consumerism that leads to violence and even murder over a pair of shoes? It’s not difficult to imagine either scenario. Speaking of fasion, the Nigerian government seems to think a tax id number can be made fashionable based on this ad that popped up beside the article (and based on this article in the Atlantic, the Mayor of Lagos seems to be having massive success in boosting tax revenue, having already raised monthly revenue from $4 million to $101 million):

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Museum of African Art mulling adding policy center to its initiative

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Great slideshow of a historic city that has been dark to the outside world for almost two decades. 

 

 

….And a Tedx event just took place in Mogadishu, which included the story of Mogadishu’s first drying cleaning business

 

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