Over 50% of Nigerian’s already live in cities, 34% below the poverty line and 68% below the empowerment line. By 2050 Nigeria will be home to 295m people, equivalent to half Europe’s urban population, and only just falling short of U.S. figures. This momentous shift which will bring nearly 200m new people into cities, create over 20 new middle-tier cities, and ensuring Lagos will rival Beijing, Mexico City and Sao Paolo in size.
With cities accounting for est. 75% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and 53% highly vulnerable to serious and near-term climate change effects, Nigeria’s cities will be a vital nexus for mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Not only this, but as the country is yet to build the majority of its urban infrastructure, it has the opportunity to leapfrog developed nations by adopting clean technologies and economic strategies early.
Nigeria is rapidly grasping this challenge with a wide variety of green growth initiatives underway:
- Large Nigerian cities are currently developing resilience strategies. Lagos has a climate change policy and action plan in place. Enugu is appointing a chief resilience officer to oversee initiatives, and Kano, Kaduna and Abuja are all developing holistic urban resilience strategies.
- Urban businesses report access to power as their number 1 constraint to growth. Sub-national energy strategies are being developed which will increase power availability in cities, providing cleaner power and enabling homes and businesses to move away from high-carbon diesel generation and kerosene.
- Transport accounts for a significant proportion of urban emissions. Nigerian cities are adopting global best practice in low-carbon public transport solutions with a bus rapid transit system already open in Lagos, a light rail set to be commissioned in 2016 and further schemes under planning across Nigeria’s cities.
- Many cities are moving to greener waste management, to promote emissions reduction, adapt to flood risks and create jobs. Recycling is being formalised in a number of cities, and feasibility studies are underway for waste-to-energy solutions.
- Coastal cities are already implementing adaptation strategies. Lagos is building coastal defences and drainage channels
While much remains to be done, the direction of travel is clear: Nigeria is taking an increasingly pro-active and engaged approach to planning for green and resilient cities that will place Nigeria and its urban citizens on a pathway to resilient and inclusive growth.