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May Theme Report [Eco-friendly Urban Technology: A Case Study of Lagos State.

by Obadare Adenekan | 01-09-2023 03:21 recommendations 0

May Theme Report [Eco-friendly Urban Technology: A Case Study of Lagos State. 

Lagos is the largest city and economic hub of Nigeria, with a population of over 20 million people. The city faces many challenges, such as rapid urbanization, poverty, inequality, pollution, congestion, waste, and climate change. To address these issues, Lagos has been implementing various eco-friendly urban technologies that aim to improve the quality of life and the environment for its residents. These technologies include smart energy systems, green architecture, waste management, and public transportation. In this article, we will explore some of the examples and benefits of these technologies and how they contribute to the sustainable development of Lagos, we would also analyze how the deployment of these technologies poses some challenges, and possible solutions to overcome it.

 Smart Energy Systems

One of the key aspects of eco-friendly urban technology is smart energy systems, which refer to the generation and distribution of electricity and heat from renewable and low-carbon sources. Smart energy systems also use information and communication technologies to optimize the efficiency and reliability of the energy supply and demand. Some examples of smart energy systems in Lagos are:

- The Lagos Solar Project is an initiative that aims to install solar panels on public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, and government offices. The project is expected to provide 5 megawatts of clean and affordable electricity to over 200 public facilities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,000 tons per year¹.
- The Eko Atlantic City is a planned city that will be built on reclaimed land from the Atlantic Ocean. The city will use smart grid technology to integrate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The city will also have smart meters, smart lighting, and smart appliances to monitor and control energy consumption².
- The Lagos Waste-to-Energy Plant is a project that will convert municipal solid waste into electricity and biogas. The plant will have a capacity of 25 megawatts and will process 2,500 tons of waste per day. The plant will also reduce landfill emissions and produce organic fertilizer³.

Green Architecture

Another important aspect of eco-friendly urban technology is green architecture, which refers to the design and construction of buildings that minimize environmental impact and maximize energy efficiency. Green architecture incorporates features such as natural ventilation, renewable energy sources, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, and vertical gardens. Some examples of green architecture in Lagos are:

- The **Nigeria Climate Innovation Center** (NCIC) is a facility that supports entrepreneurs who develop climate-smart solutions for Nigeria. The NCIC building is designed to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. It has solar panels, natural lighting, passive cooling, rainwater harvesting, and a green roof.
- The **LEAP Africa** (Leadership Effectiveness Accountability Professionalism Africa) is a non-governmental organization that promotes leadership development and social innovation in Africa. The LEAP Africa building is designed to be sustainable and resilient. It has solar panels, biogas generators, water recycling systems, and a vertical garden.
- The **Lekki Conservation Centre** (LCC) is a nature reserve that protects the biodiversity and ecosystem of the Lekki Peninsula. The LCC building is designed to blend with the natural environment and conserve resources. It has bamboo structures, thatched roofs, natural ventilation, and composting toilets.

Waste Management

A crucial aspect of eco-friendly urban technology is waste management, which refers to the collection, treatment, and disposal of solid and liquid waste generated by urban activities. Waste management includes features such as smart bins, recycling plants, composting facilities, and waste-to-energy plants. Some examples of waste management in Lagos are:

- The **Wecyclers** is a social enterprise that provides low-cost waste collection and recycling services to low-income households in Lagos. The Wecyclers use cargo bicycles to collect recyclable materials, such as plastic, metal, and paper, and reward the households with points that can be redeemed for cash or goods.
- The **EcoPro** is a company that produces organic fertilizer from food waste. The EcoPro uses a technology called biodigestion, which converts organic matter into biogas and fertilizer. The EcoPro sells the biogas to local businesses and the fertilizer to farmers.
- The **Cleaner Lagos Initiative** (CLI) is a program that aims to improve the sanitation and hygiene of Lagos. The CLI involves the deployment of over 20,000 street sweepers, 600 compactors, and 900 dump trucks to collect and dispose of waste across the city. The CLI also educates the public on proper waste management practices.

Public Transportation

Another vital aspect of eco-friendly urban technology is public transportation, which refers to the provision of efficient and affordable modes of transport for people and goods. Public transportation includes features such as buses, trains, ferries, taxis, and bike-sharing schemes. Some examples of public transportation in Lagos are:

- The **Lagos Bus Rapid Transit** (BRT) is a system that uses dedicated lanes and stations to operate high-capacity buses that transport passengers across the city. The BRT reduces travel time, traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and air pollution.
- The **Lagos Rail Mass Transit** (LRMT) is a system that will use electric trains to connect different parts of the city. The LRMT will have seven lines and 120 stations when completed. The LRMT will increase mobility, accessibility, safety, and comfort for commuters.
- The **Lagos Waterways Authority** (LASWA) is an agency that regulates and promotes water transportation in Lagos. LASWA operates ferries, boats, and water taxis that transport passengers and goods along the lagoons and creeks of the city. LASWA also develops water terminals, jetties, and navigational aids.


Challenge 1: Lack of data and evidence-based planning

One of the key challenges for eco-friendly urban technology is the lack of data and evidence-based planning. Data is essential for understanding the current situation, identifying the problems and opportunities, designing and implementing solutions, and monitoring and evaluating the impacts. However, many cities in developing countries, including Lagos, suffer from data gaps, data quality issues, data silos, and data misuse. For example, Lagos does not have a comprehensive and updated database of its land use, buildings, infrastructure, services, population, and environment. This hampers the effective planning and management of the city and its resources.

A possible solution for this challenge is to establish a municipal spatial data infrastructure (MSDI), which is an ecosystem approach that integrates various urban planning and management tools, knowledge, and action plans under a four-pillar framework: institutions, people, data and systems. An MSDI can help to collect, store, analyze, share, and use spatial data for various purposes, such as urban planning, service delivery, disaster risk management, environmental protection, and citizen engagement. For example, the World Bank has been supporting the government of Indonesia through its City Planning Labs (CPL) initiative to strengthen local governments’ data foundation and leverage digital intelligence within existing urban systems. 

Challenge 2: High cost and low accessibility

Another major challenge for eco-friendly urban technology is the high cost and low accessibility. Many of the technologies require significant investment, maintenance, and expertise, which are often lacking in developing countries, such as Nigeria. Moreover, many of the technologies are not widely available or affordable for the majority of the population, especially the poor and marginalized groups. For example, Lagos has a chronic power shortage, which limits the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. Furthermore, Lagos has a high level of income inequality, which creates a gap between the rich and the poor in terms of access to quality services and infrastructure, such as water, sanitation, transport, and housing.

A possible solution for this challenge is to promote inclusive and participatory approaches to urban development, which involve the engagement and empowerment of all stakeholders, especially the local communities and the vulnerable groups. Inclusive and participatory approaches can help to identify the needs and preferences of the people, mobilize local resources and capacities, ensure equity and accountability, and foster social cohesion and trust. For example, the Lagos State Government has been collaborating with various partners, such as civil society organizations, private sector actors, academic institutions, and international agencies, to implement various projects and programs that aim to improve the living conditions and the environment of Lagos. Some of these projects and programs are:

- The **Lagos State Employment Trust Fund** (LSETF) is a fund that provides financial support and training to entrepreneurs who create jobs and wealth in Lagos. The LSETF focuses on sectors that have high potential for growth and social impact, such as agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, waste management, and technology.
- The **Lagos Urban Development Initiative** (LUDI) is a platform that brings together urban practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and citizens to exchange knowledge and ideas on how to make Lagos more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive. The LUDI organizes events, such as workshops, seminars, webinars, hackathons, and exhibitions, to showcase best practices and innovations in urban development.
- The **Lagos Community Development Committees** (LCDCs) are grassroots organizations that represent the interests and aspirations of the local communities in Lagos. The LCDCs work with the government and other stakeholders to plan, implement, monitor,
and evaluate community development project


Eco-friendly urban technologies are not only beneficial for the environment, but also for the economy and society. They can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, enhance resource efficiency, create jobs, foster innovation, and improve the quality of life for urban dwellers. By adopting eco-friendly urban technologies, Lagos can become more resilient, livable, and competitive in the global market.


Lagos State Government (2018). Lagos Solar Project: Powering Public Facilities with Clean Energy

Eko Atlantic (n.d.). Smart City: A Vision for a Sustainable Future. 

Vanguard News Nigeria (2019). Lagos Waste-to-Energy Plant Ready Next Year – Solous Group.

Wecyclers (n.d.). About Us: Our Story.

EcoPro (n.d.). Our Solution: Biodigestion Technology. 

Cleaner Lagos Initiative (n.d.). About CLI: Our Vision & Mission.

Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (n.d.). Bus Services: BRT Lite & BRT Corridor Operations.

Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (n.d.). Rail Services: Overview of Rail Projects in Lagos State. 

Lagos Waterways Authority (n.d.). About Us: Who We Are & What We Do.

Science, technology and innovation for sustainable urban development in .... https://unctad.org/publication/science-technology-and-innovation-sustainable-urban-development-post-pandemic-world.

How Technology Helps Sustainability Initiatives Thrive | BCG. https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/how-technology-helps-sustainability-initiatives.

Smart energy systems for smart city districts: case study. https://energsustainsoc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13705-016-0085-9.

The green economy transition: the challenges of technological change .... https://sustainableearthreviews.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42055-020-00029-y.

Harnessing Smart Technology for Sustainable Development in Developing  https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2021/01/18/harnessing-smart-technology-for-sustainable-development-in-developing-countries-tdlc.

 Sustainable Development Challenges. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/2843WESS2013.pdf.

Obadare Adenekan

  • Nigeria Former E-gen Ambassador Obadare Adenekan
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