One of the most embarrassing myths about Africa is that it lacks infrastructure and jaw-dropping structures like those in New York, London, or Beijing.
To say this propaganda is not only untrue but shameful – is to say the least. Africa has had skyscrapers as far back as 1973 after the construction of the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Standing at 223-meter-tall skyscraper, the building is a replica of the famous One Seneca Tower in Buffalo, New York – also built-in 1973.
Although the magnificent tower is no longer the tallest building in Africa, South Africa commands the lion's share when it comes to tall buildings in Africa.
Want to know the top 10 tallest buildings in Africa? Here you go!
Here are the top 10 tallest buildings in Africa as at 2021. Please take note that with the number of high-rise buildings currently under construction across the planet, these buildings may well not make it to the 2022 list.
1. Leonardo, South Africa
Leonardo is a 227-meter-tall, 56-floor mixed use development that is being finalized in Sandton, South Africa. The skyscraper is located at 75 Maude Street, about 100 meters from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Construction of Leonardo began on 17 November 2015, and the tower topped out in April 2019 – officially becoming the tallest building in Africa.
2. Carlton Centre, South Africa
The Carlton Centre, a 223-meter-tall skyscraper and shopping center in Johannesburg, South Africa, has remained the tallest building in Africa since its completion in 1973.
Designed by US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, Carlton Centre resembles the famous One Seneca Tower in Buffalo, New York, which was completed in the same year.
With 50 habitable floors, Carlton Centre was once the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere – the southern half of the Earth!
3. Britam Tower, Kenya
Britam Tower, a 200-meter-tall office complex in Upper Hill, Nairobi, was officially opened to the public in July 2018, overtaking UAP Old Mutual Tower as the tallest building in Kenya.
The 31-storey tower, whose construction started in early 2013 and ended in September 2017, boasts a unique prismatic design. At its broadest, the building looks like a black pyramid with the top corner missing, and from other views, it becomes a more slender black prism.
In 2018, Britam Tower became the first building in Africa to be feted in the Emporis Skyscrapers Award's 19-year history after being named the 10th best skyscraper globally.
It is also the tallest building in East Africa.
4. CBE Headquarters, Ethiopia
The topping out of 198-meter Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) Tower in Addis Ababa has gifted Ethiopia its newest tallest building – ending the reign of the AU Conference Center and Office Complex.
The 46-storey CBE Tower, which is under construction near the Ethiopia Hotel off Ras Desta Damtew Street, is a 150,000-sq m skyscraper that will serve as the headquarters of the state-owned bank.
Early 2015, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia signed a deal with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) for the construction of the building at a cost of $267 million (about Sh28 billion).
5. Nairobi GTC Office Tower
The topping out of Nairobi GTC Office Tower, the tallest of the six towers of the Sh40 billion Global Trade Centre, has added a new entrant to the list of Kenya's tallest buildings.
The 184-meter, 43-storey office block is expected to be the Africa headquarters for Chinese firm Avic, seeking to set up its continental hub on a 7.5-acre piece of land in Westlands, Nairobi.
The tower, whose construction began in July 2015, is scheduled for completion by December.
6. Ponte City, South Africa
Ponte City is a 172.8-meter-tall skyscraper in the Berea suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Built-in 1975, the 54-storey tower designed by South African architect Manfred Hermer is the tallest residential building in Africa.
Ponte City boasts a cylindrical design, with an open center allowing additional natural light into the apartments. The building is documented as the first cylindrical skyscraper in Africa.
7. UAP Tower, Kenya
Located in Upper Hill, Nairobi, 163-meter-tall UAP Old Mutual Tower became the tallest building in Kenya when it opened in July 2016 after more than five years of construction.
The 33-storey building, which has since lost the title to Britam Tower, offers some 300,000 square feet of Grade A office space in Nairobi's fastest-growing commercial district.
Standing at an altitude of 5,700 feet above sea level, UAP Old Mutual Tower unseated Rahimtulla Tower as the highest point in Nairobi.
8. NECOM House, Nigeria
NECOM House (formerly NITEL Tower and earlier, the NET Building), a 158-meter-tall skyscraper in Lagos, is officially the tallest building in Nigeria and the entirety of West Africa.
Completed in 1979, the building houses the headquarters of a former state-run telco, the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited. The spire at the top of the building serves as a lighthouse beacon for Lagos Harbor.
NECOM House was designed by Ghanaian architectural firm Nickson Borys and Partners, and it was built by UK-based Costain Group. It took over from Cocoa House as Nigeria's tallest building.
9. Tanzania Ports Authority Tower, Tanzania
Tanzania Ports Authority Tower, a 157-meter-tall tower in Dar es Salaam, is the tallest building in Tanzania. Completed in 2016, the 40-storey building serves as the headquarters of the Tanzania Ports Authority.
10. PSPF Towers, Tanzania
PSPF Towers is a 153-meter-tall twin-tower building in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The 35-storey building is designed to create a flexible module that can host countless office setups for a variety of uses.