Scenes From A Shanty Town

December 23, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist visited Africa’s biggest shanty town. Some highlights of their experience:

  • The slum isn’t provided power or water by the government. Into the breach has stepped the private sector which offers both.
  • Most homes don’t have toilets. Instead private businesses operate public toilets, requiring you to pay for each visit. Competition is fierce.
  • The slum is large and diverse enough that there is no organized crime. The markets are free of cartels, and the diversity means that no one ethnic group is able to dominate.
  • It is possible to summon a spear-wielding escort by mobile phone.
  • New York’s Upper East Side was once a shanty town. The bustle of commerce suggests that this area too, might one day become a great city.

The Economist ultimately concludes that it is not a hopeless place and, indeed, is a “reservoir of tomorrow’s winners”. Read the entire fascinating description of life in the shantytown over here.

Source: The Economist