The Washington Post

unrivaled growth: 5 cities at the fore

- BY MAX BEARAK, DYLAN MORIARTY AND JÚLIA LEDUR

Growing at unpreceden­ted rates, and shaped by forces both familiar and new, dozens of African cities will join the ranks of humanity’s biggest megalopoli­ses between now and 2100. Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experienci­ng population growth. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population.

Researcher­s created three population models to account for different paths of developmen­t African countries might take this century, and in all of them, African cities outpaced the rest of the world’s cities in growth.

They found that changes in government policies, education levels, access to contracept­ion, movements for women’s equality and the severity of climate change had significan­t effects on the birthrates driving population growth, but not enough to keep most major African cities from growing faster than cities on other continents.

In each of the following five African cities, we examine common themes — migration, inequality, foreign investment, conflict and planning — that underlie this transforma­tion across the continent.

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