Fastest Growing Cities In Africa Right Now

The whole of Africa is growing; however, the fastest growing cities in Africa are those that are projected to be expanding at an exceedingly fast pace; mostly due to the phenomenon of Rural-urban migration which is occasioned by the availability of economic opportunities in these cities in question.

These rapidly growing cities must not be confused with the most populous cities in Africa.

It is interesting to see how Africa’s fastest growing cities will compare with their more developed counterparts in terms of population, and in terms of economy. These new cities may have some new kinds of opportunities.  

The Fastest Growing Cities In Africa

1. Accra, Ghana

Accra is the capital of Ghana, one of powerhouses of the West African sub-region. The city has a lot going for it; it is a hub of the gold trade, there are many banks and insurance institutions, markets, hotels, ports, markets, and retail outlets. Accra also has plenty of government establishments such as law enforcement, ministries, courts, and so on.

Accra has a thriving informal sector built around the services industry. Many people work as drivers, cleaners, restaurateurs, security guards, and delivery men. These secondary workers provide these services to the people who work directly in the corporate establishments and government jobs.

Accra has a population of around 2.6 million people as at 2023, but with a growth rate of around 2.3% that population is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2024.

2. Ibadan, Nigeria

Ibadan is the largest city in Nigeria by landmass, but falls behind smaller cities like Lagos and Kano in terms of population. This is an ancient city; one that has a lot of history about it.

Ibadan is ranked the second fastest growing city in Africa; and that is largely because there is an abundance of land for the cultivation of food. Food is quite cheap in this city, and there is a sizable population to sustain the economy.

Ibadan is the capital of Oyo State, and so there are many government establishments in the form of schools, courts, administrative offices, and so on. There are also many banks, insurance companies, universities, law firms, and so on. Ibadan has one of the biggest retail malls in Africa, and there are several markets in the city as well.

Ibadan is experiencing population growth at the rate of around 3.7%, but it is still a very popular city- the population has not affected the quality of life.

3. Lagos, Nigeria

Although still a favored destination for many people leaving their homes in the hinterland, Lagos has become overshadowed by Accra and Ibadan. Lagos has a population of around 15.9 Million people. Lagos is a mostly an urbanized city, and even the suburbs are seeing urbanization at a very fast pace.

Lagos is quite small by land area; but the city is home to a multitude of commercial institutions. Most of the commercial banks have their head offices in Lagos, as do insurance companies, manufacturing companies, and retail businesses. Lagos has some of the biggest markets in West Africa, and many residents earn their living by selling in markets.

The service sector is also very strong in Lagos; many people are involved in the informal sector, and yet make a good living.

Lagos has a population of around 15.9 million people, and is growing at a rate of 3.7%. The population is expected to reach 27M in 2025.

4. Dakar, Senegal

Dakar is Senegal’s administrative and commercial capital city. It has a population of around 2 million people; but the metropolitan area has around 3.5 million residents.

Dakar has the largest concentration of industries engaged in manufacturing, textiles, flour milling, brewing, and fish canning. Some other economic activities in Dakar include peanut oil refining and petroleum refining.

As a result of this concentration of industries people come into the city from the hinterland in search of jobs, and so they migrate in numbers.

Dakar is seeing growth at the rate of 2.95%; the population is expected to reach 4.5 million by 2025.

5. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan has been described as the Capital of French West Africa; it is the capital of Ivory Coast. This beautiful city is located on the coast of West Africa; it is an important hub for trade, culture, and travel.

Abidjan has a population of around 6.3 million people, and that number is supported by jobs in government establishments, shipping, hotels, politics and administration, textiles, lumber, and food processing.

Abidjan’s population is growing at a rate of around 3.05%, but the growth is expected to rise to 3.17% by 2024. The population is expected to rise to reach 5.8 million.

6. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is the financial and administrative capital of Ethiopia. This is an old city; one that is culturally significant to the whole of the African society. This is a financial and economic powerhouse, one that has plenty of banks, hotels, markets, industries and so on. Addis Ababa has plenty of trade and commerce, manufacturing, transportation, and animal husbandry.

Addis Ababa has a population of about 5.6 million, and that number is expected to rise 6.2 million by 2026. The city is growing at the rate of around 4.46%.

7. Luanda, Angola

Luanda is the administrative capital and largest city of Angola. It is a very urbanized city with tall buildings all over the place. The city has a population of 9.2 million people.

Luanda has many administrative establishments of the government, and the commercial enterprises include banks, retail outlets, and so on. Luanda has an excellent port, and the economy is tied to oil production.

Luanda has a population of about 9.2 million, but with a growth rate of around 3.8%, the population is expected to reach 10 million by 2025.

8. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kinshasa is the capital and commercial hub of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is has a large concentration of government establishments as well as commercial enterprises supporting its economy. Kinshasa has a population of 15.6 million people, and they mostly make their living by working with the government, or with any of the companies involved in manufacturing, food processing, construction, and so on.

Kinshasa is growing at a fast pace; the city is seeing growth at a rate of about 4.4%.  

9. Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital and biggest city in Kenya. As a hub of business, tourism and culture, this city is becoming increasingly important to Africa.

Most of the administrative structures in Kenya reside in Nairobi; and then there are markets, banks, ranches, schools, and so many other establishments in the city. Nairobi is an important tourism destination; this industry is strongly tied to the wildlife conservation centers.

The city has a thriving nightlife, as well as good hotels and restaurants. There is a good transport industry, and there are many food processing plants as well.

The population of Nairobi stands at 4.3 million, and the growth rate is estimated at around 4.2%. The population is expected to reach 5 Million by 2025.

10. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dares Salaam comes next to Nairobi as the most important city in East Africa; it is the capital of Tanzania. Dar es Salaam holds the administrative structures, and the bulk of the commercial establishments in Tanzania.

Agriculture is the biggest sector in the country overall, and it is tied to food processing of which there are many such companies in the city. Industry, mining, financial services, transportation, and clothing are all important sectors.

As a result of the concentration of industries in the city; people are coming in from all over the hinterland in search of jobs. Dar es Salaam has a population of 7.75 million, but with a growth rate of 5.01%, that number is expected to reach 8.1 million by 2024.


The fastest growing cities in Africa are attractive because there are economic opportunities; and also because the cities are relatively well managed, and have all the facilities that people need in order to live in relative comfort.

Rather than live in overcrowded areas, many are choosing these developing cities; cashing in on the advantages they have over their more crowded counterparts.

Further Reading: Poorest Countries In Europe By Living Standards

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