Africa's Urbanisation Dynamics 2020

Africapolis, Mapping a New Urban Geography

Africa is projected to have the fastest urban growth rate in the world: by 2050, Africa’s cities will be home to an additional 950 million people. Much of this growth is taking place in small and medium-sized towns. Africa’s urban transition offers great opportunities but it also poses significant challenges. Urban agglomerations are developing most often without the benefit of policies or investments able to meet these challenges. Urban planning and management are therefore key development issues. Understanding urbanisation, its drivers, dynamics and impacts is essential for designing targeted, inclusive and forward-looking policies at local, national and continental levels. This report, based on the Africapolis geo-spatial database ( covering 7 600 urban agglomerations in 50 African countries, provides detailed analyses of major African urbanisation dynamics placed within historical, environmental and political contexts. Covering the entire distribution of the urban network — from small towns and secondary cities to large metropolitan regions — it develops more inclusive and targeted policy options that integrate local, national and regional scales of urban development in line with African realities.

Published on February 07, 2020Also available in: French

In series:West African Studiesview more titles


The Sahel andWest Africa Club
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
The challenges of measuring urbanisation in Africa
Geo-statistical analysis of urbanisation dynamics in Africa
History, politics, environment and urban forms in Africa
Africa's new urban dynamics
Annexes8 chapters available
Processing satellite images
Urban population
Urban population growth
Level of urbanisation
Metropolitan population
Number of agglomerations
Average distance between agglomerations
Statistical annex
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