Sub-Saharan Africa » Nigeria » Ado Ekiti

Nigeria, Ado Ekiti : Integrating ‘informality’ into Africa’s urban development
  Some economies have 70% of an informal ‘shadow’. Some metropolises have 80% of informal urban growth. This potential cannot be denied or suppressed. They need to be worked out, and integrated, since they are part of the system as well as part of the assets and growth potential.
But the informal sector is not only in Economy and Urban. It is also in Social services and Governance structures. The informal is the second reality: The shadow of Peter Pan, or the ‘imaginary numbers’.
The informal sector has to be integrated for the benefit of development.

The technique to integrate the informal is to develop mixed systems where the informal takes part of the provision service. That part has to be the adequate one, and then formal and informal can work together for that purpose. That is the objective of the ‘Neighborhood Centers’ for Ado-Ekiti.

Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, is a good example of how to integrate both for the urban services provision to the population. Bottom-up planning with the empowerment of neighborhood informal social structures. Formal-informal Governance dialogue is essential for success.

Africa, as other developing economies in many continents, do not have the financial resources to achieve a full fledge urban services provision. The provision must be incremental: Starting from the basics and building up to a full system. Incrementalist approach will make a wall closet starting form “Hangers on a Wall” building it up to the sliding doors. This is the suggested urban approach to be taken in Africa’s urban development.

I hope this paper will contribute to the development of many cities and metropolises experiencing the challenge of rapid explosive growth in a context of strong informality and lack of financial resources.