Lagos; A Nightmare For Expatriates, But A Place To Make Friends


Sunday, December 08, 2019   /  2:40PM /  By Andrew Christian  /  Header Image Credit: Online Nigeria 


InterNations, a global expat network, has just published its new ranking for the best and worst cities for expatriates ("expats"). The survey considered over 200,000 expatriates, representing 178 nationalities living in 187 countries of the world. While it ranks Taiwan's Taipei as the best city for expats and Yangon at the bottom of the list, Lagos appears as one of the worst.

According to the survey, Africa's largest city is not the darling of expats, primarily because of its weak transportation systems. In the Quality of Urban Living Index, Lagos -at 79th position- comes only before Milan (80), Rome (81st), and Kuwait (82nd). Also, expats are not happy with the level of political stability and safety in the city. 

Africa's largest city, Nigeria's best-performing state economy and home to over 21 million people, Lagos is one of the most visited and favored in terms of business. However, infrastructural development has not been commensurate with the growth of its population.

The city's road network density is estimated at 0.4 kilometres per thousand inhabitants, which is well below the continental average. The development of this sector has been drawn back by the use of outdated transport means and weak management systems. 

The present mode of connectivity in Lagos is not befitting for a so-called megacity. The use of public transport systems such as the government-provided BRT buses tends to be quite stressful. This is especially for those who are not familiar with the city's system. The average Lagos commuter spends up to three hours in traffic, a hellish conundrum that costs the city NGN 42 Bn (over USD 115 Mn) every year. 

The survey also cites the underdeveloped nature of Lagos' healthcare system and the quality of the environment. Transportation has a direct impact on a city's quality of life, its environment, and the economy. 54 percent of the expats rate the state of the local economy of Lagos negatively, while 37 percent are not happy with the city's career prospects. 

On the bright side, the Expat City Ranking 2019 lists Lagos among the top 5 cities in the world for making friends. Not only that, but it is also obviously one of the best cities for expats to stay in Africa. 

"More than three in five respondents (62%) agree that making friends is easy (vs. 45% globally), and an equal share (62%) is also happy with their social life (vs. 55% globally).

It might help that the people in Lagos are generally perceived as friendly (70% vs. 64% globally), and that it is easy to live in the city without speaking the local language (81% happy vs. 47% globally)," the survey says. 

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