60% of Africans to live in cities by 2050

African cities will grow by 25% by 2025 and it is expected that 60% of the continent’s population will be urbanised by 2050.

Dar es Salaam will be Africa's fastest growing city.

Dar es Salaam will be Africa's fastest growing city.

So said Phil Howarth, a partner at Frost & Sullivan, during the GIL 2011 Africa conference in Cape Town.

According to data presented by Howarth, the African city that will see the most growth up until 2025 is Dar es Salaam, followed by Nairobi, Kinshasa, Luanda and Addis Ababa.

Greater urbanisation on the continent will see the development of mega cities, mega regions and mega corridors.

A mega city has a population of 10 million or more. Howarth noted that Angola’s capital Luanda is expected to grow from a population of 4.7 million in 2010 to over 8 million by 2025, thereby resembling a mega-city of high population density and commercial activity.

A mega region is created when cities combine with suburbs to form regions. These areas generally have a population of over 15 million. A future mega region is Lagos’ Eko Atlantic City that will merge with the city of Lagos to form a business gateway to Africa.

Mega corridors are formed by transport routes that connect major cities or mega regions. Howarth highlighted two potential African mega corridors. The one is the Cape Town to Cairo corridor that will be formed as a result of a proposed grand free trade area combining the current SADC, EAC and COMESA trade blocs. In West Africa the area between Lagos and Abidjan could also become a mega corridor.

One of the implications of the urbanisation trend is that cities and mega regions, not countries, are likely drive wealth creation.

Frost & Sullivan noted that greater urbanisation will lead to new transport solutions such as toll roads, car sharing and the adoption of electric vehicles.

The extension of transport infrastructure to the suburbs will be a catalyst for businesses to move out of the central business districts to the residential areas.