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Counting the Cost: Lagos Traffic

Counting the Cost: Lagos Traffic

Business Africa

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with an estimated population of about 170 million people. Lagos is the economic pulse of the country. A city of around 20 million people most of whom live around the metropolis’ main lagoon.

Commuting to work is an arduous affair. The common options that are available are small minibuses (the danfos ) or larger minibuses (moles ). Navigating through the labyrinth of potholed roads is a task even to the most experienced drivers.

It is estimated that transport inefficiency costs the city $1 billion and 3 billion hours in lost time.

“Corruption affects our ability to secure ourselves and it also undermines the performance of the economy.”

The traffic situation has become a case study and in a recent article published by The Economist, the magazine says that the city is less navigable than usual.

Way Out

Despite transportation challenges, Lagos is a hub for investment. Its economy is bigger than most African countries and as such, something needs to be done. In fact, something is already being done.

The World bank has provided funding to the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) to the tune of $130m.

According to the lender, the first bus-based mass transit system exists in Lagos. The first in Africa. It has moved about 400 million passengers in its 5 years of operation.

President Muhammadu Buhari is seemingly taking charge. He wants a third of the 2016 budget to go into building roads and hospitals.


In a country where corruption is endemic, there is the general feeling that still, a lot more needs to be done.

Officials from the Lagos State Traffic Monitoring Authority have been accused of demanding bribes from drivers arbitrarily.

State officials are under investigation and the tough talking president fired the head of the Nigeria Anti-Corruption Authority Ibrahim Lamorde in November.

The president came to power on the back of his anti-corruption stance and one of his famous quotes is “Corruption affects our ability to secure ourselves and it also undermines the performance of the economy.”

However, time is not on Nigeria’s side. Its population is forecast to exceed 300 million by 2050, according to the United Nations.