Which Cities Will Become Africa’s Next Megacities?
Megacities can provide economic opportunity and a better way of life for many people. They can also bring a huge boom to the economy, and many are international business hubs. In Africa, there has been a large move to urbanisation as people in rural areas move to cities looking for better opportunities.
There can be multiple definitions of what constitutes a megacity, but here we’re defining a megacity as having a population over 10 million people. Africa already has three megacities and is forecast to have four more by 2025.
Using data from Statista, we look into each projected megacity in Africa to see what has made them such a popular destination and why they are growing exponentially.
Cairo is set to become the biggest megacity in Africa by 2050. It’s already one of Africa’s three megacities, with a population of 21.8 million. This is set to increase by 49% to 32.6 million in the next few decades.
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt, in Northern Africa. It is currently the 12th largest city in the world and the most populated city in Africa. Around 11% of the total population of Egypt lives in Cairo and the city accounts for around 22% of the economy.
Cairo is Egypt’s administrative and business hub. As well as government services, the city is also home to industries such as automobile manufacturing, textiles, food processing, publishing houses and media outlets.
The city has grown quickly, and population growth has outstripped some city services, such as housing, roads, and utilities. However, the government has been taking steps to improve and expand all services with serious investment, to keep it in line with population and demand.
Kinshasa is forecast to become the second-largest megacity in Africa. It is already classed as a megacity with a population of 15.8 million. This is set to grow by 84% and rise to 29 million by 2050.
Kinshasa is the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. It is the largest city in the country and the third-largest metropolitan area in Africa. It’s estimated that 390,000 people move to Kinshasa every year looking for security, safety, and economic opportunities.
Kinshasa accounts for around 85% of the entire Congolese economy but is home to only around 13% of the country’s population. Industries that are thriving in the city include manufacturing, food processing, construction and finance.
Over $355 million has been invested in projects for Kinshasa, to benefit residents by improving services such as water connections and access to green spaces in urban areas. It is also working to improve the socio-economic conditions of the poorest residents of the city, through skill development and gender-based violence prevention. This project also aims to improve the sustainability of the growing city, so it can withstand changing conditions due to climate change and reduce the city’s impact on the environment.
Lagos is set to become the third-largest megacity in Africa by 2050. It is already a megacity, with a population of 15.5 million. This is forecast to grow by 82% over the next few decades, to 28.2 million.
Lagos, in Nigeria, West Africa, is the fourth most populated city in the world and the most populated urban area in Africa. It has the fourth-highest GDP in Africa and is home to one of the largest and busiest seaports in the continent.
Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa and has been deemed the cultural, financial and entertainment capital of Africa. The city accounts for around 10% of the total GDP for the country.
Lagos is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, with an estimated 275,000 people moving there every year. The initial fast growth put a strain on services and the city saw pollution, congestion, and strained infrastructure. However, the government has since made significant investment in infrastructure and utilities provision to improve services and help to make the city greener and cleaner. Further modernisation is still required thought to improve the livability of the city and keep up with the growing population.
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is forecast to be the fourth biggest megacity in Africa by 2050. It currently has a population of 7.5 million but is set to grow by 118%, rocketing to 16.4 million in the next few decades.
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, in East Africa. It is the most populous city in Tanzania and currently the fifth most populated in Africa. It is the second-fastest-growing city in the world. Dar es Salaam is an important economic centre and hub for arts, fashion, media, and film in Tanzania.
The city’s fast growth has created issues with transport and congestion, with a lack of available buses and overcrowding on trains. However, there has been investment in improving services and road planning to create more efficient routes around the city.
Luanda is set to become the fifth biggest megacity in Africa by 2050. It currently has a population of 9 million and this is forecast to grow by 62% to 14.6 million.
Luanda is the capital city of Angola, in Southern Africa. It is the largest city in the country and one of the oldest colonial cities on the continent. Around a third of the Angolan population live in Luanda.
It is now a major centre for industry and culture. It has a busy seaport and industries such as the production of beverages, agricultural products, textiles, plastics, construction materials, and car assembly plants.
The population of Luanda initially saw a huge growth in the 1970s, when the Angolan civil war saw refugees flee to the city in search of safety. At the time, there was not the infrastructure in place to support the people, and so slums arose around the city. Now, there has been major reconstruction in the city to improve accommodation and services.
Nairobi is forecast to be the sixth largest megacity in Africa by 2050. It currently has a population of 5.2 million but is due to increase by 101% to 10.4 million.
Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, in East Africa. It is home to the parliament buildings of Kenya and is an important business hub. Over 1000 international businesses have regional headquarters in Nairobi, such as Coca-Cola, IBM Services, and General Electric, as well as countless Kenyan businesses. The Nairobi Stock Exchange is one of the largest stock exchanges in Africa. Nairobi also has a large tourist industry, which brings in billions of dollars to the economy.
Even with these vibrant industries, the economy of Nairobi is still falling behind its population growth. Around 40% of the city’s population are unemployed, with the majority being in the densely populated, low-income areas of the city.
Khartoum is forecast to be the seventh largest megacity in Africa by 2050. It currently has a population of 6.2 million which is set to grow by 80% to 11.2 million.
Khartoum is the capital of Sudan in Northeast Africa and has the largest metropolitan area in the country. The city initially developed based on the country’s oil wealth, although petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state rather than the city itself. The city focuses on industries such as printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles.
Part of the growing population has been due to refugees fleeing the war in Syria, as Sudan was one of the few places in the world that would accept Syrian travelers who didn’t have a visa. As of 2019, around 5% of the population of Khartoum were Syrian.
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