Which African cities will be the largest in the year 2100?



By Capital Frontiers


The scale of urbanization that will happen in Africa over the next 80 years is staggering. While Africa today has only a few megacities, its massive young population and high birth rates are projected to cause an explosion in the size of its cities that by the year 2100 will position 20 cities in the country larger than Shanghai. Among other key metrics:


  • By the year 2100, in Africa, 10 cities will be larger than the present-day population of Tokyo, currently the world’s largest city

  • By the year 2100, Africa will have 20 cities whose populations are larger than the present-day population of the continent’s largest city, Lagos

  • By the year 2100, Africa’s largest city, Lagos, will be more than twice as populous as the world’s largest cities today, with an urban population larger than the entire nation of Germany


What are the largest cities in Africa today?


This is a list of the largest cities in Africa today, by metropolitan population:

  1. Lagos, Nigeria, 21 million

  2. Cairo, Egypt, 20.4 million

  3. Kinshasa, DRC, 15.6 million

  4. Johannesburg, SA, 14.2 million

  5. Luanda, Angola, 8.9 million

  6. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 7.5 million

  7. Onitsha, Nigeria, 6.9 million

  8. Khartoum, Sudan, 6 million

  9. Nairobi, Kenya, 6 million

  10. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 5.5 million


What will the largest city in Africa be in the year 2100?


And these will be the populations of Africa’s largest cities, per the UN, come the year 2100:


1. Lagos, Nigeria, 88 million

2. Kinshasa, DRC, 84 million

3. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 74 million

4. Khartoum, Sudan, 57 million

5. Niamey, Niger, 56 million

6. Nairobi, Kenya, 47 million

7. Linlongwe, Malawai, 42 million

8. Blantyre City, Malawi, 41 million

9. Cairo, Egypt, 41 million

10. Kampala, Uganda, 40 million

11. Lusaka, Zambia, 38 million

12. Mogadishu, Somalia, 36 million

13. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 36 million


- New York City, 30 million


14. N’djamena, Chad, 29 million

15. Kano, Nigeria, 28 million


- Tokyo, Japan, 26 million


16. Ibadan, Nigeria, 24 million

17. Luanda, Angola, 24 million

18. Bamako, Mali, 23 million

19. Sakar, Senegal, 21 million

20. Maputo, Mozambique, 21 million


- Shanghai, China, 21 million


The UN is likely over-projecting the amount of urban concentration that will remain in these cities. It is unlikely a city of 88 million will actually be experienced as a single place. It is more likely a number of new cities will emerge within these countries. Nevertheless, the population growth projections are likely fairly accurate within these countries overall, and the population of Africa will likely quadruple by the end of the century, rivaling Asia for the world’s most populous continent. This will put a tremendous resource strain on the world, and also puts tremendous pressure on Africa to upgrade both its infrastructures and its economies. As has been wisely noted, he who invests in Africa today is investing in the 21st century.


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