Today from Ekocity Travel Desk:Which city is more developed Lagos or Nairobi?

Which city is more developed Lagos or Nairobi?

I live in Nairobi but I travel 3 – 4 times a year so I do believe that I have some credibility to answer this question.


Murtala Muhammed International Airport (Lagos) vs. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi): there’s no comparison. JKIA is larger, cleaner and more organized than MMIA. The visa process in JKIA is also easier


Nairobi’s climate is mild and dry due to high altitude even though it straddles the equator (average is 23° / 14°). Temperatures in Lagos is hot and oppressively humid (average 32° / 24°)


Most Nairobians do not own a generator because it is unnecessary. There are power blackouts but one of more than 4 hours is uncommon and maybe happens 1 – 2 month. Additionally, power is available in the lower income areas. Everyone in Lagos has a generator because power is off more than 50% of the time


Nigeria is one of the leading exporter of crude oil but has to import diesel/petrol since their refineries are barely working. For various reasons, there are frequent stockouts of diesel and petrol although to be fair it has improved a lot in the last 2 years. Nairobi has not had a major petrol/diesel stockout in 5 years


In Nairobi, you pay first month, last month and one month deposit to move into a rental unit. In Lagos, you have to pay 2 years upfront


Lagos is a concrete jungle without a shred of greenery. Nairobi is the Green City in Sun with a lot of greenery and even a forest (Karura Forest) within the city limits


Both Nairobi and Lagos suck equally


Because Kenya has no oil, one of the major industries is tourism so there’s been a lot of investment in hotels and all levels. Most international chains have hotels in Nairobi. A few international chains have now a presence in Lagos (for a long time it was pretty much Eko Hotel) so this has improved.

Road infrastructure

Lagos does have better road infrastructure than Nairobi, although Nairobi is catching up with the building of the bypasses


If you are a fan of spicy food and seafood then Lagos is the place to be. Nairobi food can be somewhat bland but this is a very subjective topic. I think there are more restaurants per capita in Nairobi since Kenyans eat out more than Nigerians.


Lagos has many more higher end nightclubs than Nairobi and Nigerians dress up when they go out. Kenyans are very casual and frankly dress badly. It is common to find most people in a Nairoib club in jeans and sneakers whereas no self respecting Nigerian would roll like that to a club. One major cultural difference is that in Nairobi, women go to nightclubs by themselves or with their buddies and will entertain themselves and buy themselves drinks. This is for both single AND married women. In Lagos, it much less common for women (especially married) to go out by themselves unless accompanied by boyfriend/husband/brother. Also, a Nigerian woman will not pay for her own drink

I hope you enjoyed the synopsis of Lagos and Nairobi.

Edit: Ambrose Ukwuegbu asked me to add 16 other indices to compare Nairobi (Kenya) and Lagos (Nigeria). I’m not an economist nor an expert but I’ll give it a shot with 8 of the 16, Ambrose. Others are free to add to this. Note this is exercise is not to say which country but to compare in what areas each country can look to each other (or not) to improve itself. For example, I wish Kenyans would like at how Nigerians are proud of their country and culture and Nigerians can take an example of how a more diversified economy like Kenya’s would work for them.

Corruption: both Kenya and Nigeria are equally bad. They are ranked 143 rd and 148th by Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Index. Nigeria has been improving though since it used to be in the bottom 5, so it’s trending upwards whereas Kenya is either plateauing or trending downwards
Strong Institutions: Kenya’s judiciary annulled a presidential election in 2017. Although I visit Lagos often I don’t live there so my view on this wouldn’t be an educated one.

Transparency in doing business: according to the World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index, Kenya is ranked 61st and Nigeria 146th
Patriotism and nationalism: this answer is anecdotal but Nigerians are far more patriotic and proud of their culture than Kenyans are. The are proud of their food, dress, movies, etc. They export their culture much more readily than Kenyans do. It helps that the population is 5 times that of Kenya but I still think the Nigerian culture is more exportable because it is more identifiable. The knock on Kenyans is that we just ape Western ways which I somewhat agree with
Healthcare and welfarism: this is a complex topic because healthcare is complex. You can compare public health vs. private health and frankly I am not erudite enough on this topic
Election rigging and selection: a lot of election rigging in both countries but my general perception is that it is getting better in both countries

Judiciary and independence: the Kenyan Supreme court annulled a presidential election in 2017. They are becoming more and more independent but perhaps not as fast as Kenyans would like them to be. I do not know much about the judiciary in Nigeria
Religious conflicts and dogmatism: Boko Haram vs. Al Shabaab. Boko Haram is the bigger threat since they are based within the borders of Nigeria whereas Al- Shabaab are mostly in Somalia. Also their aims are quite different. Boko Haram wants to establish its own country and hive off a chunk of Nigeria, whereas Al Shabaab basically wants Kenyan to keep out of Somalia

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