MMakoko Shanty Town, Lagos Lagoon, Lagos State, Nigeria (6°30′ N – 3°24’E) © Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Makoko, in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, is the world’s largest floating shantytown. Shantytowns are slums cobbled together by the people who live in them from whatever materials they can get their hands on – and Makoko is still growing. Many of the people who live there come from rural areas or neighbouring countries, hoping to make a new life in Africa’s biggest metropolis. The government has tried to demolish Makoko several times, claiming that it gives the country and the city a bad name. It also just happens to be on a site where Nigeria’s ultra-rich would like to build expensive homes with sea views.
GOAL BY 2030: REDUCE INEQUALITY BY INCREASING THE INCOME OF THE POOREST 40% OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION FASTER THAN THE AVERAGE.
All discriminatory legislation, policies and traditions must be replaced by laws that promote equality. We are not born with equal opportunities. Billions of people have little chance of a good life. Those born into poor families or with the ‘wrong’ skin colour or religion face far greater obstacles in life. Girls are at a disadvantage compared to boys when it comes to education and training opportunities, being able to assert themselves and make a steady income when they grow up. The same applies to people with disabilities, who often suffer from discrimination.
Inequality isn’t just about justice. Research shows that high levels of inequality have detrimental effects on the whole of society, even the wealthiest parts. Countries with high levels of inequality have more social unrest, more crime, poorer health, lower life expectancy and more widespread discrimination.
Countries like Denmark are not immune from inequality, it is just at a lower level than most other places in the world. Economic inequality has grown in recent years, even though Denmark has signed up to support the UN SDGs and agreed to work toward a less unequal world.
We also need to give the developing countries greater influence in international bodies. Last but not least, migrants must be treated fairly. All countries must adopt policies to ensure orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration.