I have been reading about Paul Romer’s concept of charter cities. These are private cities
built by private individuals and corporations and it looks interesting.
These cities apart from having their own infrastructure theoretically
don’t have to depend on national, state and local laws and can have
their own judiciary/legal systems in other words they will be autonomous zones.
Some say this concept will allow real
development and leapfrog the bureaucratic bottlenecks that stifle many third world countries in their quest for development. This is the concept
that was used to build Dubai and now Abu Dhabi is following it, both of them in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The
Chinese in the late 1970s also created special economic zones where
Chinese laws didn’t apply and that was the start of their economic
miracle as investors poured in to build factories. Hong Kong is another good example of this concept operating differently from Mainland China that its based in.
Right now this concept is being experimented with in Honduras who have created autonomous zones where foreign corporations can build charter cities. But It has not being without its challenges. Paul Romer who was on the board overseeing the development of these Honduran autonomous zones has resigned citing his objections to the way the Honduran Government is running the project.
Many African and Asian countries are stifled today because of the over bearing bureaucracies, bad infrastructure and terrible law implementation. I know many critics see this as creating walled gardens for rich people but shouldn’t we give this concept the benefit of the doubt?
These charter cities could provide an avenue to let inhabitants unleash their creative potentials with the legal framework free from the host countries inefficiencies. With adequate electricity, water, sewage and transport links along with a good education and health system creative people could have the chance to execute their ideas and concepts. They are also a place where social experiments can be carried out like in Saudi Arabia with the new King Abdullah economic city being built.
Now my question
to you all is do you think an independent city like that is possible in
Nigeria, where Nigerian laws don’t apply and they could adapt laws and
legal systems from the developed world? What sayest thou people?