The world’s population is urbanizing at an incredible rate. Of all the cities experiencing rapid growth, a sizable chunk are in Africa. More accurately, they’re all in Africa. These are the five fastest growing cities in the world.
Data and rankings come from both World Atlas and the United Nations.
- Current Population: 1.5 million
- 2030 Population: 2.1 million
- Annual Rate of Change: 4.6%
By Zambia’s own admission, Lusaka is experiencing problems common to rapidly expanding cities. There aren’t enough jobs in the city, so unemployment is high, and municipal services are having a hard time keeping up with demand. At the same time, Lusaka is defying expectations by maintaining low crime rates and impressive diversity. The city also contains lively markets and restaurants. It’s almost as if the people know things aren’t great right now but that they’ll improve exponentially in the near future.
- Current Population: 2 million
- 2030 Population: 3.9 million
- Annual Rate of Change: 4.8%
Kampala frequently tops quality of life surveys conducted in East Africa, so the bar for the city already starts high. There’s always something going on in the city and it seems like there are enough signature dishes in Kampala (and Uganda in general) that you could probably eat a different national dish for almost every meal no matter how long you stay there. Apparently this is going to be one of those cities where you have to take a crash course in local languages, though. The official language is English, but most people speak a Ugandan English dialect called Uglish, a form where their most common expressions can be hard to understand, even if you’re a master of contextual language.
- Current Population: 2.7 million
- 2030 Population: 5.3 million
- Annual Rate of Change: 4.9%
The French influence still left in Mali might find its best example in the city’s standard breakfast bread. Most other meals are full of traditional Malian foods, but for some reason, breakfast is an exception. There isn’t really a name for it, but it’s the bread that’s fueling a huge boost in population and productivity. There are colleges, manufacturers, zoos, botanical gardens and markets throughout the city, but the majority seems to be very much of the a working class, blue-collar type.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Current Population: 5.4 million
- 2030 Population: 10.8 million
- Annual Rate of Change: 4.9%
Dar es Salaam wears its colonial history on its sleeve. You can see elements of German and British occupation are all over the city’s architectural landmarks, left over from when both countries used Dar es Salaam as a major hub in their empires. Today, the city maintains its importance in trade and government, as the main port of Tanzania as well as the main offices for government organizations. Naturally, as Tanzania improves its economic standing, more people are flocking to the city.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
- Current Population: 2.9 million
- 2030 Population: 5.9 million
- Annual Rate of Change: 5%
The city of Ouagadougou is usually shortened to Ouaga, and for good reason. Ouagadougou is a mouthful no matter who you are. Its main attraction would be the Rood Wooko market in the center of the city. It’s the kind of place that has everything in the way that having everything actually means having every thing. You could leave the market with a collection of items that would otherwise require about 15 separate trips to accumulate.