Gridlock – Part 2 : Hargeisa – The City of Congested Streets

Welcome to the second and final piece in our Gridlock series. Congestion is a very dry topic, and one that we have all encountered. However by looking at both Indonesia and Somaliland we can see that it is a both a symptom and a cause of all manner of other problems in the developing world.

Hargeisa – The City of Congested Streets

By Ahmed M. Elmi (Shawky)

Hargeisa is a home to about a million people. The dusty streets are overcrowded with pedestrians, cars of all kinds, animals – including donkeys carrying water, dogs, and goats, roadside cottages and people carting wheel barrows. Walking alone on these streets creates a feeling of dread – and a knowledge that should you hesitate after one lucky escape, you will probably not be so lucky the next time.

And driving a car is not that much better – with your way eternally blocked by people, vehicles, and a vast coterie of animals – should your brakes not be in the best condition, you will be in big trouble. Continue reading

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Gridlock – Part One : A Jakarta Love Story

The first in a two-part Our Man In feature looking at the serious impacts of congestion in the cities of the developing world. First, we look at Jakarta in Indonesia.

The Bribe and the Traffic Jam

By Thibault Michot

Jakarta, Kinshasa, Mexico City, Moscow, Sao Paulo…¬† One may wonder what those metropolises have in common but with populations of millions people, they are some of most congested places on Earth.

Jakartans will tell you that this Indonesian mega-city is at its best when it comes to delicious street-food, friendly people, vibrant culture and occasionally decadent nightlife. At its worst however, anyone living or working in Jakarta will confess how the insanity-inducing levels of traffic congestion are such a major component of everyday life. For some time, Bangkok and Jakarta shared the unenviable reputation for having the worst gridlock in Asia. But in the past decade, the Thai capital has decided to tackle traffic congestion head-on through the construction of underground and overground train systems. Even though far from perfect, the nightmarish congestion has eased – leaving just Jakarta in a state of perpetual gridlock.

And the hours spent waiting behind the wheel are not expected to decrease anytime soon.

Continue reading