Africa’s urban population is the fastest growing globally. In less than 20 years from now every second person in Africa is likely to live in a town or a city (see graph). This will total about 926 million people, or 438 million more than today; the equivalent of adding the current combined populations of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt and Tanzania.
By 2030, six of the world’s 41 mega cities will be in Africa (see map). The existing trio of Cairo, Lagos and Kinshasa will be joined by Johannesburg, Luanda and Dar es Salaam. Africa’s mega cities absorb a significant share of national populations. They are key drivers of their countries’ economic performance and connect Africa to the global economy.
A new African Futures paper forecasts that in 2030, Lagos, Cairo and Kinshasa will each have to cater for over 20 million people, while Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg will have crossed the 10 million mark. By 2035, close to 30 million people could live in Lagos, turning Nigeria’s commercial hub into the largest mega city on the continent. At the same time, more than a third of Africa’s urban population is expected to live in West Africa.