Extreme Makeover: Nigeria Edition?
April 11, 2007 3:17 PM   Subscribe

I was looking at the CNET site about the new OLPC laptops that were delivered to a village in Nigeria, and was shocked to see what appear to be McMansion-esque buildings in the background. Can anyone explain this?
posted by dkleinst to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
And BTW, I realize it says this in the caption:
The yellow houses in the background are model homes built into the community's center to encourage prosperity.
But, I'm interested in any info you know of or could dig up about these types of houses.
posted by dkleinst at 3:22 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


What I thought the answer would have been is that there's a great disparity in wealth over there, just as over here, perhaps even worse.
posted by fogster at 3:29 PM on April 11, 2007


What fogster said. The OLPC project in in a community 10 miles outside Abuja. Google takes me to a Sierra Leone message board (bear with me) and this post:
A Nigerian friend of mine recently went back to help design and sell houses, because they can go for like $250,000 in places like Abuja. But remember Nigeria has a population of 100 million plus. Only a small percent of the population can afford this, but even if it is 1%, that's still 1 million people, which is a lot.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:55 PM on April 11, 2007


I have no idea who resides in the houses, but George Packer wrote a truly harrowing piece about life in Lagos in a recent issue of the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/11/13/061113fa_fact_packer
posted by KokuRyu at 4:03 PM on April 11, 2007


They look suspiciously like Bluth Corporation homes...
posted by Rock Steady at 4:12 PM on April 11, 2007


I couldn't find anything about it, but based on what I have read about Abuja, I'm thinking "encourage prosperity" is code for "soon to be displaced villagers (and welcome new residents of Abuja's newest mcmansion community)."
posted by necessitas at 4:31 PM on April 11, 2007


Re: fogster's comment on income inequality

Meet the Gini coefficent.

US: 40.8

Nigeria: 43.7
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 4:41 PM on April 11, 2007


Yes, there is a huge wealth disparity in the more, um... advanced parts of Africa. You're either wealthy (which means you have a mansion, Mercedes, and servants) or you're a serf. They're not all savages there, you know.

(I had a girlfriend in high school from Ghana.)
posted by backseatpilot at 6:11 PM on April 11, 2007


While I'm thinking about it: Xeni Jardin has been traveling in west Africa recently. You can also find some of her travel writing on boingboing.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:13 PM on April 11, 2007




This is 10 miles outside Abuja, which has a metro population of 1.8 million (wikipedia), so it's not unreasonable to consider it a suburb of the city. As these pictures show, Abuja obviously has some wealth in addition to grinding poverty. Also, it's a new city, only built in the 1980s, and thus new construction on the outskirts isn't really that surprising.
posted by desjardins at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2007


I've been to Lagos on business and was surprised how developed it was. Lots of tall condo buildings, lots of office buildings, normal suburban houses, etc. Lots of Nigerians at restaurants and hotels that I stayed at.

Very few shanty towns from what I could see... in my very limited and restricted time there. I'm sure the countryside is much poorer but still they do have a whack of oil money over there.

Interesting comment from Dr. James that indicates there isn't that much difference in income equality between US and Nigeria. Wow. But nothing I saw would indicate otherwise. Again, I repeat, I was only in Lagos.
posted by FastGorilla at 7:54 AM on April 13, 2007


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