Africa, Prosperity, Cities & Urbanisation, Consumption

Top 6 fastest growing cities in Africa

Responsible Business | May 08, 2018


“If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.”– George Monbiot

Africa’s population of roughly 1.1 billion is expected to double by 2050. More than 80% of that growth will occur in cities. The result of this unprecedented urban transition depends on what the next generation of Africa’s political, business and civic leaders do to cope with this fast changing landscape. Policy choices and actions can transform the population of a nation into a healthy, educated, empowered labor force that can contribute to real and sustained economic growth that lifts people out of poverty.

A few interesting facts about African cities:

  • By 2100, about 40% of all humans and nearly half of all children in the world will be African
  • Today, 430 million people, or 38% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, live in a city
  • More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and 95% of global urban growth will occur in developing countries over the next 90 years
  • Since the beginning of the century, the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa grew by more than 200 million people
  • Climate change is likely to place even more stress on resources, resulting in as many as a billion people moving from inhospitable regions

Below you will find a list of 6 African cities with the highest population growth:

1. Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Photo credit: National Observer

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and the country’s trading hub, will outpace all other African cities in growth between 2010 and 2025.

The capital city’s population has grown more than sixfold since 1978, and is home to one of Africa’s most important stock exchanges. The population of Dar-es-Salaam was recorded as 3,350,000 in 2010 and is expected to reach 6,202,000 by 2025.

2. Nairobi, Kenya

Photo credit: Magical Kenya

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is growing by 500,000 people a year due to rapid urbanisation.

Kenya needs to build two million affordable city homes to meet its housing deficit and stem the growth of its sprawling slums, already home to six out of 10 urban households. The population of Nairobi was recorded as 3,523,000 in 2010 and is expected to reach 6,246,000 by 2025.

3. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo credit: Rozenberg Quarterly

Every year, 390,000 people pour into Kinshasa to escape war and poverty, but also to study or to follow a dream – the equivalent of a mid-sized city.

Kinshasa had just 20,000 people in 1920. By 1940 it was home to about 450,000 people. Today it has possibly 12 million and is predicted to be Africa’s second largest city with 75 million people inside 50 years.

4. Luanda, Angolo

Luanda is Angola’s capital and the country’s largest city at over 6.9 million, while the average age of the population is just 20.6 years.

Among major world capitals, Luanda in recent years has gained a reputation as among the most expensive cities to live in. The city’s seaport is a gateway to export petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, and fish products. The population is expected to reach 8,077,000 by 2025.

5. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Photo credit: Unsplash

Almost one-quarter of all people in Ethiopia that live in urban areas live in the capital city Addis Ababa.

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia trails only to Nigeria for having the highest African population. With the population set to grow from 2,930,000 in 2010 to 4,757,000 in 2025, Addis Ababa will be the largest city in the world located in a landlocked country.

6. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan, the most populous city in French-speaking West Africa, is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire.

Regarded as the West African cultural hub, Abidjan is constantly growing and is characterized by high industrialization and urbanization. The economic opportunities available here are appealing to people living in undeveloped, rural areas and will cause the population to rise from 4.13 million in 2010 to 6.32 million in 2025.


Join us at RBF Africa 2018 under the theme ‘Transforming Africa’s Development through Innovation, Youth and Technology’ to learn and discuss about what can be collectively done to accelerate development rate, address inequalities, improve energy access, food security and new ways to create fair and decent employment in Africa.


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