This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Lagos Population to Hit 12.4 Million By 2015

The population of Lagos city will nudge at 12.4 million by 2015 just as African city populations will more than triple over the next 40 years, a growth which was said to be occasioned by massive rural-urban migration.

This was contained in a report by the United Nations HABITAT released yesterday. The report, which was titled The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequalities and Urban Land Market, was endorsed by Executive Director of the UN-HABITAT, Mr. Joan Clos. â-‚â-‚

According to the report, the population of Lagos city, like other African cities, will have grown by 300 percent by 2050, thereby bringing the total number of its original residents to no fewer than 37.7 million by the middle of this century.

The report said whereas the population of Lagos city was about 10.5 million in 2010, the Lagos city is host to an estimated 18 million and would increase tremendously in years to come, noting that Greater Lagos now includes 16 of the 20 local government areas in Lagos State.

By the day, the report stated, some seven million Lagos resident commute to work by public transport or private vehicles. It has therefore become evident that productivity in Metro Lagos is increasingly hampered by the inadequacy of its being fragmented by public transportation system and heavy traffic congestion.

According to the report, almost 40 per cent now lived in urban areas. This urban population will grow to one billion in 2040, and to 1.23 billion in 2050, by which time 60 per cent of all Africans will be living in cities.

The report put the urban growth rate of 3.4 per cent, noting that Africa "is the fastest urbanizing continent in the world and will in 2030 cease being predominantly rural. The increase in urban populations will lead to an exponential increase in the demand for shelter and services. But as the authors point out African cities are already inundated with slums; a tripling of urban populations could spell disaster unless an urgent action is initiated today".

The report said Cairo with 11 million inhabitants "is still Africa's largest urban agglomeration. But not for much longer. In 2015, Lagos will be the largest with 12.4 million inhabitants. In 2020, Kinshasa's 12.7 million will also have overtaken Cairo's then 12.5 million populations. Luanda has recently surpassed Alexandria and is now Africa's fourth largest agglomeration. It is projected to grow to more than 8 million by 2040.

"Up to 2020, Kinshasa will be the fastest-growing city in absolute terms, by no less than four million, a 46 per cent increase for its 2010 population of 8.7 million. Lagos is the second-fastest with a projected 3.5 million addition, or a 33.8 per cent increase. Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Cairo, Abidjan, Kano and Addis Ababa will all see their populations increase by more than one million before 2020.

"The average for the 10 proportionally fastest growing cities is around 51 per cent. Abuja, Bamako, Luanda, Lubumbashi and Nairobi are projected to grow at rates between 47 and 50 per cent over the current decade, while Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Mbuji-Mayi and Niamey are projected to grow between 50 and 57 per cent.

"In the case of some African cities, projected proportional growth for the 2010?2020 period defies belief. Ouagadougou's population is expected to soar by no less than 81 per cent, from 1.9 million in 2010 to 3.4 million in 2020. With the exception of the largest cities in the Republic of South Africa and Brazzaville in Congo, from 2010 to 2020, the populations of all sub-Saharan million-plus cities are expected to expand by an average of 32 per cent.

"But 70 per cent of all African urban population growth will be in smaller cities and those with populations of less than half a million. This is where the real urban transition of Africa is taking place. Therefore, this means that smaller cities will increasingly need public investment to cater for this," the report said.

Clos, who is the Executive Director of the UN-HABITAT, said in a statement that no African government "can afford to ignore the ongoing rapid urban transition taking place across the continent. Cities must become priority areas for public policies, with hugely increased investments to build adequate governance capacities, equitable services delivery, affordable housing provision and better wealth distribution."

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