The African continent has been characterised with an exponential upsurge in the rate of rural-urban migration. Modernity and the desire to take up roles for poverty alleviation have necessitated the exodus of rural dwellers into cities in search of a better life. This has in turn piled pressure on resources and infrastructure in most African cities. Among a host of reasons for the increasing rural-urban migration is the African administrative tendency of centralising political, social and economic activities in the capital cities. Most African governments tend to centralise provision of essential services in the capital such as advanced health, technology and access to electricity thereby negating the same for rural dwellers.
In response to the upsurge in urban population resulting from rural-urban movement, some African governments have considered decentralisation of key activities while investing more in social services such as health, education and infrastructure for the rural populations. The principle of devolution has also been roped in to curtail the piling of pressure on resources in the major cities. These and other measures constitute a raft of measures that African countries are putting in place to decongest busy African cities and central economic hubs.
1. Lagos, Nigeria
Africa’s most populous city, Lagos occupies the first place on our list of Africa’s most hectic cities. Lagos city is Nigeria’s largest city and the most populous city in Africa with a population of over 21 million. The city is a major financial hub and has the highest GDP in the continent boasting of a sound base in terms of goods and services provision. Also known as “The city that won't stop growing”, the population of Lagos is expected to rise by 49.5% in 2025, from a total of 18M in 2005 to 27M in 2025. The streets in Lagos are understand to be very busy, with a plethora of business activities coupled with intense daily rural-urban migration.
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, informally known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa. Classified as a megacity Joburg is the provincial capital and largest city of Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. The city is replete with an array of investment opportunities and career openings, thus facilitating mass exodus of African immigrants from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Tanzania into the country. According to Mastercard Cities Index, Johannesburg is the most visited city in Africa and the second most visited city in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East, after Dubai. The City is also home to Africa’s largest stock market, the JSE.
3. Cairo, Egypt
The city of Cairo in Egypt is considered an economic hub in the North African region and contributes close to two thirds of the country’s GDP. The city’s most employing and major income generating sectors include the textile and food processing, iron and steel production. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world. It is also a vibrant hub of tourism, commerce, finance, and government services. Consequently, hordes of Egyptians travel into the big city with the quest to secure high paying jobs and carry out start-ups.
4. Kinshasa , Democratic Republic of Congo
Kinshasa, once referred to as Léopoldville is the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Being the industrial and business hub of the country, the economy of DRC highly depends on Kinshasa. Just opposite Kinshasa is another country's capital city Brazzaville. The closeness of Kinshasa to Brazzaville plays a crucial role in facilitating many and significant trades in and out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The proximity also enables smooth movement of citizens from both countries into and out of either country’s capital city. With a population of about 10M in 2005 and continued migration of many young people from the rural areas to Kinshasa, the population is anticipated to rise by 72% and increase to 18M by 2025.
5. Accra, Ghana
Accra, the capital, administrative and economic city of Ghana, is the largest in Ghana. It is the home for the significant government ministries, insurance firms, the head offices of banks, and the big markets which import most of the food supply. The city is also adjacent to the Tema Port, a central cross-country border for Ghanaian international trade. Accra’s formal and informal economies contribute about $3 billion to the country’s economy which is equivalent to 10 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product. The hardwork and brisk business activities in Accra have enabled the city to rise through the ranks into becoming one of Africa’s modern business hotspots.