At 4.23%, Nigeria has one of the highest urbanisation rates in the world; only lower than a few African countries. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In countries where per capita budgetary expenditure on social services is relatively small, moving to urban centres generally correlates to improved access to jobs and social services like health, education, sanitation, and even energy.
Squeezed by decades of neglect and the resulting shrinking opportunities, Nigerian rural dwellers are moving to cities in ever increasing numbers. The problem for most is that, when they arrive in the city of their dreams, the only (if at all) housing they are able to access is more than likely in a slum within or in the periphery of the city.
The slum is supposed to be a half way house; a place where you stayed while paying your dues, until you find your share of the golden fleece. It is supposed to be a Prosperity Pipeline from which poor rural dwellers emerge as upwardly mobile blue collar city dwellers. The reality however appears to be that the pipeline is blocked. Today, 50.2% (49million people) of Nigeria's urban population still dwell and are stuck in the slums they first settled in when they moved to the city, decades ago in some cases.
Slum dwellers represent a huge part of Nigeria's housing non-consumption (to borrow Efosa Ojomo's coinage). At 5persons per household, 49million people represent about 10million households that can be converted to housing consumers if the product is designed to fit. A product that meets this requirement will solve for the legal (titling), technical (design) and financial needs of that customer segment.
At 5-persons per household, 49million people represent about 10million households that can be converted to housing consumers if the product is designed to fit
Experience in product development in other emerging markets has shown that using the right levers, people at the bottom of the pyramid can actually be converted to relatively valuable consumers. And so public officers responsible for urban governance will do well to engage with companies working in this space to unlock the prosperity stuck in urban slums, and help the 50% of urban populations which dwell in those slum to truly flourish.