The Future of African Cities

Join us in exploring the challenges and opportunities of the rapid growth in African cities

agenda November 22, 2018

African cities are experiencing an immense and rapid growth. In 2030, in Africa, there will be 41 cities with more than 10 million inhabitants, 63 cities with a number of inhabitants between the 5 and 10 million, and 558 cities with a number of inhabitants between the 1 and 5 million. This growth is accompanied by many different trends and developments, which bring along various problems and obstacles. At the beginning of 2019, the Spindle is planning to organise a working session for those who are interested in these developments and would like to think along about the opportunities and challenges.

Figure 1 and 2 (borrowed from Dr. Paula Nagler) show the immense urbanization rate globally, and in Africa specifically. In general, Africa’s population of about 1.1 billion people is expected to double by the year 2050. 80% of that growth will occur in cities. This growth puts extreme pressure on the cities’ limited resources and capacities. They will face huge challenges with food and water availability & sustainability, congestion, infrastructure, pollution & waste, housing, crime & safety, employment, poverty, natural disaster resilience and many more. In short, African cities will need to do much more, with much less. These problems will intensify and deteriorate due to today’s unprecedented climate stress. Furthermore, there is a much larger inequality gap in urban areas compared to rural areas due to the huge informal economy, which will only increase in the future considering the rapid urbanization rate.

Although the challenges that come along with this rapid growth might not be overcome, they can be mitigated, adapted to and prepared for. Such a large amount of complex challenges requires a broad variance of solutions. One can think of proper planning, effective policy implementation, sustainable food production and the use and re-use of waste. Furthermore, technology has the potential to play a vital role in coping with, or mitigating, various problems. Check out this link that showcases some innovative technological solutions to global urban problems!

The Spindle would like to invite those who are interested in these developments and who would like to join us during one or more session(s) on this topic. What are the challenges of these future cities in Africa? And what are the consequences and opportunities for the development sector as well as for you specifically? Would you like to think along, share your knowledge and hear the view of other organizations and experts on this topic? Sign up by sending an email to

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