Eko Atlantic is a new private, public partnership (PPP) city project which is starting to take shape in Lagos. The new city it built on reclaimed land next to Victoria Island. The city is built as a place of residence and a workplace for the new and rising middle and upper class living in the city and country. It is one of the first and by far the largest city building projects in Africa. It rivals city project like KONZA city in Kenyan and King city in Ghana.
Below Konza City
The project is planned to house around 250,000 people and is said to be the ‘future Hong Kong of Africa’ by Nigeria’s World Bank director. The new city already has 27 km of roads and the first few buildings are starting to come up. The city is said to be an eco-friendly, world class city. The city will be run by private firms and will be privately be supplied with electricity, water, public transport and sewage. The city will not be run by the city council of Lagos but by its own private organisation.
The city has also been built with climate change in mind. The city of Lagos lies relatively low and as sea levels start to rise the city could in the coming years be partly covered in sea water unless steps are taken to counter this. Eko Atlantic has therefore been built behind dykes that will keep the water out. The city will be a hub of economic prosperity for the country and will hopefully help to invigorate the Nigerian economy helping to entice overseas investors to invest in the country.
The project has also been met with much controversy and many feel that the city does not help the cities poorest but only provides services for the super wealthy elite. Makoko aquatic slum lies about 7 km inland from Eko Atlantic city. Makoko is one of the many slums that lie in and around Lagos but Makoko is maybe the most interesting. Built on the Lagos Lagoon it is a floating slum which is particularly susceptible to the fallout of rising sea levels.
Eko Atlantics sea defences does nothing to protect places like this or any part of Lagos. Furthermore, Eko Atlantic city is expensive, at 6 billion US dollars it is one of the most expensive projects in Nigeria’s history. Some people argue that this money could have better been used to build sea defence to protect the city. Eko Atlantic has also been called ‘climate apartheid’ by the Guardian. The project is built for the rich and powerful and has been created to serve only the rich and powerful. Many also point out that the city is run privately and has little oversight in terms of governmental accountability. The project is also a very good example of spatial inequality and a ‘grotesque monument to the ultra-rich flight from responsibility’ by the Guardian.
The project is not even finished but has already left an impact on Nigeria and the world. One can see it as a shining new city that will create new jobs and opportunities for millions of Nigerians, but it can also be seen as a city built for the rich and has wasted money that could have been used to protect millions of underprivileged people who live in the city.