Links Roundup: January 2020

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What we're reading this month:


"By 2020, the world’s 100 largest cities will have 974 million inhabitants; more than a fifth of the global urban population." The history and future of the world's cities, summed up by this and many other interesting stats in this International Institute for Environment and Development blog.

"Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, collects less than 10% of GDP in taxes." As Ken Opalo notes, taxation isn't an end in itself, but whether or not a state can effectively collect taxes is a measure of its state capacity.

Among the four mega-trends to watch in the 2020s: startup cities. Includes a shout-out to Patri Friedman's Pronomos VC, the first venture capital fund explicitly created to fund charter cities.

The New York Times on the growth of the private water industry, a byproduct of drought and the inability of governments around the world to supply clean drinking water.

If you're interested in how Shenzhen laid the groundwork for China's economic transformation, The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City, just released, is the book for you.

Too often the binding constraint to launching great businesses in Nigeria isn't talent or location, but misguided policy and weak supply chains. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder of Andela and Flutterwave, is building Talent City to open a new era in Nigerian development. We're thrilled to be working with E; you can meet him at our upcoming Charter Cities Conference.

Speaking of our Charter Cities Conference, we're also thrilled to announce Russell Okung, Left Tackle for the San Diego Chargers, Afro-optimist, and crypto-enthusiast, will offer a keynote at the conference. Register here.

Trade not only moves goods, but cultural tastes, too. Fun story on the feedback loop between French and African fashion.

I always love reading fun thoughts about the charter cities space from interested observers. Anirudh Pai offers musings on the future of U.S. cities and the possibility of charter cities, starting with...Kanye West's Wyoming compound.

As always, thanks for reading - talk soon.



-Tamara Winter

Head of Strategy, Charter Cities Institute