A Real Challenge: #CoCreateMyCity LAGOS

The rapid urbanization in Africa brings challenges in multiple areas such as access to education, health care, waste processing, logistics, and unemployment. One of the countries where these challenges are apparent is Nigeria. However, the country is also full of opportunities. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and with 190 million inhabitants it has a large workforce. The economic capital Lagos is home to 22 million people. Lagos is great with its dynamic people, its energetic workforce, and its creative African dominance in creative industries. But Lagos is also synonymous with chaos as being one big traffic jam, where pollution obfuscates the water in the sea for miles off the coast, and where millions live in endless squatter homes. Lagos has big potential, but also big challenges. The state government of Lagos strives to turn Nigeria’s capital into a Smart City, where business is booming and entrepreneurship thrives. You can help by providing input into the directions for innovation. So that Lagos becomes not only a smart but also a sustainable and healthy city.


Overall the focus is on two the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as described below. Every specific challenge you could tackle is also related to one other SDG.

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


Challenge 1: Fresh fish supply chains and urban farming

The fresh food industry plays a very important role in food security in Africa and especially in large cities. But with growing demand from many young mouths, there are big challenges to food security. The Netherlands has frontier knowledge in agri-tech and supply chains. The challenge is to use this knowledge of urban farming to optimize the supply chain in the fish industry in Lagos. How can a new network of firms bring fresh fish to the table of 22 million Lagosians?

SDG 2: Zero hunger.


Challenge 2: Power to the mini-grids

The unreliable and insufficient power supply in the Lagos area is the main source of low productivity. One of the most promising approaches is to design mini-grids for densely populated areas. Such mini-grids may be connected to renewable energy sources and light up the evening in Lagos. However, to be successful, mini-grids lack a good business model to succeed in being demand driven. How can businesses make mini-grids the key building block for urban power supply?


SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

Challenge 3: Waste management in a circular economy

With a fast-growing economy, pollution is one of the main challenges of Lagos. Much of the waste collection is done by informal companies. This restricts the efficient collection of waste, which then often ends up in illegal landfills. Here we can do better, but how to engage the resilient informal sector so as not to lose employment for the many urban poor. How can small businesses improve the waste collection value chain and move towards a circular economy?


SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation.

Challenge 4: Beating the traffic jams

Anybody who visits Lagos and ends up in the traffic jam will be struck by the colossal mobility problem. There should be quick wins from managing traffic flows, early warning of jams, and efficient toll roads. The Netherlands has lots of knowledge in mobility planning and in using the internet of things. But where to begin? What business solutions are the quick wins to improve mobility in Lagos?


SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Challenge 5: Affordable Healthcare

Rapid urbanization and agglomeration connect many people to a potentially affordable and accessible health care system. However, it is a big challenge to provide such care to so many people. Simultaneously, there is a substantial improvement in business models in healthcare that allows a more efficient provision of services, especially to a rapidly increasing urban population. The combination of new technologies, decoupling in business models, and the creation of value networks of small service providers allows for a much more efficient organization of healthcare. The challenge is to come up with business solutions to implement affordable health care systems in Lagos.

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages