The rise of Africa's megacities

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Over the last 35 years, the share of Africa’s population living in urban areas climbed from 27% to 40%. This number is expected to pass 50% by 2035, and between 2020 and 2050, Africa will be the world’s fastest-urbanising region, according to UN figures.

Of the largest cities in Africa, which include Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Johannesburg and Cape Town, only three – Cairo, Lagos and Kinshasa – currently fall into the category of ‘megacities’, which are cities with a population of 10 million or more.

Megacities are home to one in eight of the world’s urban dwellers, and this number is growing. According to the 2014 World Urbanisation Prospects Report, in 1990 there were only 10 cities globally with more than 10 million inhabitants. To date, that number has nearly tripled.

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