"…Africa is still something of a demographic outlier compared with the rest of the developing world. Long berated (or loved) as the sleepiest continent, it has now become the fastest-growing and fastest-urbanising one. Its population has grown from 110m in 1850 to 1 billion today. Its fertility rate is still high: the average woman born today can expect to have five children in her child-bearing years, compared with just 1.7 in East Asia. Barring catastrophe, Africa’s population will reach 2 billion by 2050. To get a sense of this kind of increase, consider that in 1950 there were two Europeans for every African; by 2050, on present trends, there will be two Africans for every European (see chart 1).
…One African in two is a child. The numbers are such that traditional ways of caring for children in extended families and communities are breaking down…
…Africa’s rate of urbanisation is the fastest the world has ever seen, says Anna Tibaijuka, the head of Habitat, the UN agency responsible for urban development. In 1950 only Alexandria and Cairo exceeded 1m people. When the city rush is done, Africa may have 80 cities with more than 1m people, plus a cluster of megacities headed by Kinshasa, Lagos and Cairo—none of which show signs of mass starvation. Intermediary towns of 50,000-100,000 people will soak up most of those coming from the countryside. Urbanisation is part of the solution to Africa’s demographic problems, not a manifestation of them."
The biggest question I have is whether African cities will adopt city planning methods to strategically plan and control growth and not let new development grow haphazardly as seen in other developing nations. There are several urban locales in South and Southeast Asia that have dense populations of 1 million people or more but they hard to define as cities. They appear to be more of a collection of dense high rise developments or communities that all function independently of each other. The same can be said of many current African cities today. Hopefully small African cities now that are expected to explode in population can implement plans now before they become overrun with major developments.
Another question I have for anyone to answer is how will Africa becoming a more urban continent change your perception of the continent?