People & Money

Lagos is laying the foundation for a greener future

If any city in Africa is feeling the full force of pollution and the effects of climate change, it’s Lagos, Nigeria’s megacity of more than 23 million people that is predicted to become the world’s largest city by 2100.

Today, more than 1.6 million cars ply Lagos’s congested roads daily, churning out millions of tons of emissions. Meanwhile, polluting petrol- and diesel-powered generators account for about 80 percent of electricity production in the city, which is notorious for blackouts and an unreliable grid.

The result of all the smoke and fumes? The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency reported more than 30,000 pollution-related premature deaths in Lagos in 2021 alone.

These gathering environmental threats to quality of life have inspired Lagos’s authorities to introduce policies and initiatives to help mitigate the effects of climate change and pollution and to adapt, where possible.

In 2018, Lagos State signed up to the C40 Cities initiative, a network of mayors from cities around the world that commit to reducing emissions.

In 2020, Lagos launched a five-year climate action plan that prioritizes actions towards zero-carbon development goals in sectors including transport, agriculture, energy, and waste management.

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And in October 2022, Lagos published an ambitious 30-year development plan that highlights how the city can expand sustainably by upgrading and greening its transportation, power and energy, digital, water, and sanitation and waste management infrastructure.

According to experts, the private sector can support Lagos in enhancing the resilience of the city’s population, economy, and infrastructure to the impacts of climate change.

 “Transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway will require significant private sector-led contribution, investment, and innovation,” said Kalim M. Shah, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Nigeria. “The implementation of Lagos’ climate action plan as part of the overall 30-year masterplan will ensure that Lagos remains a livable and thriving city.”

The private sector’s pivotal role could help Lagos absorb—and provide jobs and opportunity for—millions more citizens in a sustainable way. The projects outlined below illustrate how IFC is supporting sustainable private sector-led growth in Lagos and contributing to the city’s green ambitions.

Sustainable Transport Options

While public transport is a major source of mobility in developed cities, ride hailing services can fill gaps in places where buses or subway lines are scarce.

In Lagos State, where there are 222 vehicles for every kilometer of road compared to a national average of 11, Nigerian company Moove is making financing available for ride hailing drivers to purchase or lease fuel efficient vehicles—and has plans to finance transition fuel powered cars in the city.

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The company, which was founded in 2020 and also operates in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, has already financed thousands of fuel efficient vehicles in Lagos for drivers who work for Uber.

One driver in Lagos benefitting from Moove’s model is Adekunle Adekola, who purchased a brand-new Suzuki S-presso thanks to Moove’s financing. The vehicle delivers fuel efficiency of 4.9 liters per 100 kilometers and lower CO2 emissions, less than the global average fuel efficiency of 6 liters per 100 kilometers.

“I’ve been driving for the past 30 years and compared to other cars I’ve driven, the fuel consumption of this new vehicle is very economical,” Adekunle said.

Getting new, fuel-efficient cars on the road is particularly important in Nigeria, where dilapidated, second-hand vehicles popularly known as Tokunbos still dominate the roads, often emitting dangerous fumes.

In 2021, IFC provided $20 million in financing to support Moove’s growth ambitions. The company aims to have at least 60 percent of the cars it finances be fuel-efficient, electric or hybrid. Nearly 10 million trips have been completed in Moove-financed vehicles to date.

“There’s a massive investment potential to introduce greener vehicles in Lagos,” said Ladi Delano, co-CEO of Moove. “The entire value chain has potential, from the vehicle itself, where most cars on Lagos roads can be fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, to the infrastructure for electric vehicles, including charging units.”

Lagos is also pursuing a public transport strategy to help cut congestion and emissions on its crowded roads.

In 2008, Lagos introduced Africa’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, which has since been expanded to three BRT corridors and standardized bus routes, and today serves more than 200,000 passengers daily with 300 buses. The project includes designated bus lanes that have dramatically reduced travel times.

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Meanwhile, this year IFC provided a $50 million local-currency loan to help Lagos develop, finance, upgrade, and operate two bus corridors in Abule Egba-Command and Ile Iwe-Ile Epo, two of the most densely populated and congested parts of the city.

The upgrades, expected to be completed by early 2024, are aimed at serving 150,000 passengers per day.

“We have six rail lines and one monorail in the Lagos State strategic transport master plan, and are currently working on two rail lines. These are high-density corridors estimated to reduce road travel times for over a million passengers per day when completed,” said Abimbola Akinajo, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

This article was culled from

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