JULY 12,2012 By Toluwani Eniola
How secure are African cities?
A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has ranked Harare and Lagos as the world’s worst cities to live in.
The cities were ranked on the basis of 30 criteria, including healthcare, stability, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
Other African cities do not perform well in the EIU’s ranking of the world’s best cities to live in.
Six African cities feature in the bottom ten of the rankings, with Zimbabwe’s capital Harare the worst performer.
Nairobi came 62, Lusaka 63, Dakar66, Abidjan 67 ,out of 70 cities analysed. Cairo, Egypt’s capital is 55 on the ranking.
The EIU’S report is not different from previous studies, further showing the need for African cities and other Asian ones to brace up.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has one of the largest and most experienced country and industry analysis teams in the world with over 100 full-time country experts and economists, based in offices around the world.
The EIU operate in virtually every country and cover every developed and emerging market.
Johannesburg is the African city that scored the highest in the rankings.
But Johannesburg came 40th position from a total of 70 cities included in the rankings.
The situation in Harare is worrisome as a new survey has further shown that Harare residents remain uncertain and skeptical about city authorities as some services improve with partisan violence apparently on the increase.
According to a report in VOA news, in the survey conducted in 15 areas in the City by the Combined Harare Residents Association, residents indicated that violence was their number one concern.
Most of the violence is politically-motivated. Residents say service delivery, though slightly better since the formation of the coalition government in 2009, remains poor at the most.
According to the survey, nearly 87 percent of residents, some from areas like Mbare, Mufakose and Highfields high density suburbs, who were knowledgeable of institutions such as the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and the organ of national healing, said the bodies had failed to mitigate violence in their communities.
Why Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, appeared at the bottom of the list is not certain, despite the recent environmental strides of the state government.
The new ranking builds on EIU’s Liveability index by including an additional category, Spatial Characteristics, to the existing five categories – Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure.
This new category seeks to account for the spatial aspects of city life: urban form (sprawl, green space), the geographical situation of the city (natural assets, isolation and connectivity), cultural assets and pollution.
Hong Kong is the top ranked city. Although Hong Kong scored relatively poorly for pollution and cultural assets, the city benefited from strong scores in the natural assets and sprawl categories.