Africa’s biggest cities have unique problems

by MMC
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In 2016, two professors from Canada and the United States published a newspaper they predict that most of the world’s largest cities will be in Africa by 2100. According to their paper, thirteen of the world’s twenty largest urban areas will be in Africa, compared to just two today. These researchers created three population models to account for the different possible development paths that African countries could take this century. In all of these countries, African cities have outpaced the rest of the world’s cities in terms of growth.

As popular as this narrative is, there is no guarantee that it will happen. Big cities only exist because they have big economies. And megacities need megaeconomies, even if, for some, much of their economy is informal. However, Africa’s room for growth cannot be ignored.

Africa is home to 1.4 billion peopletwice as much as Europe and growing three times faster than the overall average. THE UN projects which, by 2050, the African population double to at least 2.4 billion and that a quarter of the world’s population will be African. The continent’s biggest cities will contribute greatly to this growth, and here’s what you need to know about them.


Lagos is Nigeria’s coastal megacity and the most densely populated city in Africa. But no one knows for sure how many people live there. Official figures indicate that there are at least 24 million residents, while the United Nations estimates a more modest figure at 15 million. Both are estimates, as Nigeria has not had any troops for 17 years. It is home to two of the busiest ports in Africa, making it one of the The main economic centers of Africa. Nigeria’s trade relies heavily on Lagos to thrive. It is also Nigeria’s most productive state, accounting for 60-75% of annual revenues.

Various sources claim that Lagos receives between 600 And 2000 immigrants daily, making it one of the the fastest growing cities in the world. And because it is Nigeria’s smallest state in terms of land area, Lagos’ most unique feature is chaos. Competition is fiercer in Lagos than anywhere else in Africa, causing high unemployment, a housing crisis and some of the worst traffic jams in the world. The housing deficit in Lagos is between three million And 17 million units, even if it represents more than 10% of annual house construction in Nigeria.


Cairo is the economic center of Egypt and the second largest city in Africa. The city’s culture and history, including being home to world-famous sites like the Pyramids of Giza, make it one of Africa’s top tourist destinations. In the world widest cable-stayed bridge – the Long Live Egypt Bridge – is also in Cairo. But that’s not the only profound thing about Cairo.

Cairo’s congestion is unique. Unlike Lagos, this is not just because of its economic importance. Cairo is the headquarters of almost half Arab political, economic and cultural organizations, particularly within the Arab League, and an important banking center. Several ministries and embassies surround Cairo’s central Tahrir Square. These buildings often require extensive security measures, including blocking surrounding streets. But these measures end up clogging the city’s arteries, making it difficult for people to move from one point to another. Cairo is relatively free of slums, thanks to a $25 billion national project. slum improvement plan.


Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the third largest city in Africa. Throughout the world, it is the largest French-speaking city, surpassing Paris in number. The city is one of the largest mining centers in Africa, housing approximately 49% of the world’s cobalt reserves. But Kinshasa, like the rest of Congo, does not benefit from these mineral riches. It is the poorest of Africa’s largest cities.

Poverty is not the most unique problem in Kinshasa: the structure is. The colonizers built the city before leaving, keeping racial and social segregation in mind. This structure allowed only the wealthy to access public services. This is why less than 1 in 10 Congolese have electricity at home. Areas formerly reserved for whites are now inhabited by rich Congolese. And large areas of land that were underutilized 60 years ago are now covered in slums, home to the majority of the city living in crushing poverty.

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