Africa’s population boom strains cities, creates opportunities
Africa’s cities are poised for a population explosion that will strain resources, infrastructure and services and widen income inequality. But African leaders can manage the influx through inclusiveness, eco-friendly development and economic opportunity.
That’s the conclusion of a new report, Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures, published by the African Development Bank.
It finds that several African cities are among the fastest-growing in the world. Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is projected to expand from 2.7 million in 2005 to 6.2 million in 2025. During that period, Nairobi in Kenya could grow at a similar rate, with Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than doubling from 7 million to 15 million. Today, Africa already has 52 cities of 1 million or greater — the same as Europe.
The report urges governments to reduce income disparities that are already high. It also recommends steps to bolster food security, such as limiting imports and reversing soil erosion. Meanwhile, greater investment could help Africa tap domestic reserves to meet an expected 93 percent surge in energy demand by 2035.