Inside the 10 Fastest-Growing Cities in Africa
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Inside the 10 Fastest-Growing Cities in Africa

Africa , news
Jasmine Osby
Jasmine Osby Apr 20, 2022

Over the last two decades, Africa has grown into one of the most popular destinations for both Black tourists and ex-pats seeking entertainment and enjoyment on the continent’s golden shores. Commerce and modern expansion have blossomed throughout Africa and major epicenters of culture and business have popped up from the coast to the Sahara. 

With a total population of more than 1 billion people, Africa continues to grow at a rapid pace every year. However, some cities are growing faster than others. Here’s a deep dive into the 10 fastest-growing cities in Africa that are attracting Black tourists and ex-pats from every corner of the globe.

1. Johannesburg, South Africa

Expats and tourists can get a lot for their money in Johannesburg, South Africa. The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is a headquarters for many business and government corporations and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The cost of living there is reasonable and visitors can enjoy a plethora of stores, malls, and shops overflowing with products and goods to take back home. 

2. Dakar, Senegal


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The seventh most prosperous country in Africa, Dakar, Senegal is home to over 200,000 expatriates from around the world. The city’s population is expected to grow by 50 percent by 2025 with over 4.2 million people residing in Senegal’s capital. Dakar is an influential trade hub between West Africa and Europe and many ex-pats relocate there to enjoy thriving careers in telecommunication, engineering, and agribusiness industries. 

A historical African city, hospitality in Dakar is like none other and friendly locals and vibrant culture make it even more appealing to ex-pats. Although the cost of transportation and food is cheaper, rent costs in Dakar aren’t much cheaper than in the US or Europe.

3. Accra, Ghana

With its population having increased from 2 million to 3.5 million since 2005, Accra, Ghana is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. The city has also become a favorite destination for Black ex-pats leaving the US to live in the Motherland. Aside from being the country’s capital, Accra is also Ghana’s largest city and is a hub for entertainment, creativity, and culture.

Expats also love Accra because of the safe and peaceful nature of the city, unlike in neighboring countries. Accra also has some of the best international schools in Africa so it has become very popular among ex-pats with children. It also is a key player in the international trading industry.

4. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is a city with a rich, vibrant culture and history. With 13 full months of sunshine each year, it is no wonder this Ethiopian city has become a paradise for many Black ex-pats. The city currently houses 4 million residents however it is predicted its population will increase to 35 million by 2100. It is also home to many historical landmarks and tourist attractions including the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum, and the Merkato Market. 

Due to inflation, the cost of living in Ethiopia can be a bit higher than in other countries in Africa. However, it still is one of the fastest-growing city’s on the continent and its endless entertainment options, delightful weather, and excellent education system continue to attract diverse individuals from all around.

5. Lagos, Nigeria


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Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a thriving industrial and commercial hub that draws thousands of visitors every year. It is the country’s most populous city, with over 20 million inhabitants. By the year 2050, it is predicted Lagos will have a population greater than 45 million.

English is widely spoken throughout Lagos and ex-pats and tourists enjoy a variety of restaurants, shopping centers, and hospitality from welcoming locals. The cost of living is high in Lagos however, that hasn’t discouraged millions from flocking there and it has become a melting pot of cultures and history.

6. Cairo, Egypt


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One of the most ancient cities in the world and the largest African city by landmass, Cairo is a beautiful city that draws millions of tourists annually. Currently, Cairo is home to 9.54 million people however that number is predicted to grow to 40 million by 2100. Such a large population has led to issues in the city like extreme traffic but the city has worked to accommodate the influx of ex-pats moving in. 

Cairo has one of the oldest metro systems in the world and you can get almost anywhere on public transportation. Although it is technically a Middle Eastern city, Cairo plays an important role in connecting North Africa to the Arab world.

7. Nairobi, Kenya


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A powerhouse in many foreign international organizations, Nairobi, Kenya has the potential to have a population of 6.5 million by 2025. The East African country is Kenya’s capital and a commercial hub for locals and tourists. Although Nairobi is growing and many tourists visit each year, the entire country of Kenya is under a level 2 travel advisory by the US Bureau of Consular Affairs. So do proper research and take precautions before traveling to this cultural center.

8. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

In the eastern region of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is a business hub rich with beautiful landscapes, radiant palm trees, and friendly locals. Aside from the sandy beaches and exotic wildlife roaming on the outskirts, Dar es Salaam is home to multiple embassies, government organizations, and professional service firms. Although it is not Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam is growing fast with 6 million people living there currently. By the end of the century, it is projected the city will be home to over 70 million people.

Dar es Salaam has a very diverse ex-pat population and offers many perks beyond its scenic beaches including reasonable rent costs, a simple VISA system, and many banking institutions. However, the national healthcare system in Tanzania isn’t the best and many ex-pats opt to get private insurance instead.

9. Luanda, Angola

A city full of beautiful people and culture, Luanda, Angola has increased to 7 million from 4.8 million in 2005. Luanda is Angola’s capital and at the Port of Luanda, crude oil and other goods are traded bringing great wealth to the country. With deep roots in Portugeuse and Brazilian culture, Angolan cuisine is one of the most popular flavors in the world, and tourists come from all over to dine in their plentiful restaurant scene. The city also has a very eclectic nightlife scene perfect for an evening of fun and entertainment. 

Keep in mind English is not widely spoken in Angola so some travelers have noted there was a language barrier between them and the locals during their visit. Luanda is also not free of crime so be alert when traveling alone or at night through the city.

10. Kinshasa, DR Congo


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The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa is the most populous city in the country. It is an important hub for business and commerce and, although it is not as famous as other African cities, is a vital thread in the fabric of Central Africa. By 2025, Kinshasa is projected to have 18 million residents and many say that by 2100 it will have 84 million inhabitants. 

The Congo is home to many wonders including the lush Congo Rainforest, the second-largest rainforest in the world, and the African Great Lakes. Many ex-pats relocate here to enjoy the capitals growing job market however outside of Kinshasa, the country is very poor.

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