Africa is the least urbanized continent in the world, where few people live in cities: in the world 50% of people live in urban centres and in USA they reach a percentage of 80%.
Africa instead has a urban population being worth 40%. But these data will reach 60% in 2040 and then 70% in 2100: African cities will undergo a demographic boom and will become some of the most populated in the world. In 2100, Lagos (Nigeria) will be the first city in the world for population, hosting 88 million inhabitants. After it, we will find Kinshasa (Congo) with 83 million people and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) with 73 million people. Therefore, the three most populated cities in the world will be in Africa, while the forth will be Delhi, in India.
In 2010 ranking, there was only Cairo, which ranked fourteenth. According to the most recent analysis, in 2100 at least 5 African cities will rank the first positions in the same list. This is an unstoppable trend, which deserves our attention.
If, as data show, population’s growth in Africa isn’t accompanied by adequate infrastructure, 70% of urban population will concentrate in slums, in areas lacking services, where people live in metal – sheets shacks, with no access to medical assistance, water, light, education, basic hygiene conditions.
In Africa conflicts, drought and lack of water help to worsen urbanization. Last UN’s alarm denounces the most severe food crisis of last 50 years in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, northern Kenya.
What can these people, being in the grip of hunger and armed conflicts, do, if not move to look for a place where to rebuild their lives and their future? And could those places that were supposed to welcome these migrants live up to the task?
The risk is that they couldn’t do it and that this process, already swung into action, will come to no good.
Let’s imagine a crowd of 2 billion people – almost the equivalent of today’s Asian population – being working – age men and women, incomeless young adults, forced to live constantly under pressure inside a slum.
A powder keg.