Projections from a new study suggest that cities will explode at an amazing pace with a population of 100 million by the end of this century, and Lagos, a city in Nigeria could be the first to achieve that.
This means by 2100 if Nigeria’s population continues to grow and people move to cities at the same rate as now, Lagos with its current 20 million people could be home to more people than the state of California, the Canadian demographers Daniel Hoornweg and Kevin Pope at the Ontario Institute of Technology have said.
Lagos, which is already one of the world’s 10 largest cities, sprawls across 1,000 square kilometres. With some fascinating buildings and skyscrapers in the city, Lagos also has its poorest residents often living in slums by the lagoon.
Its economy, however, continues to grow than other major cities in other African countries, with manufacturing, transport, construction and retail all being a contributor to the country’s economy.
The Lagos state government has since proposed a 13-year development plan, due for completion in 2025, that aims to revolutionize the city’s economy, social services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing population.
Meanwhile, the researchers say hundreds of far smaller cities across Asia and Africa could also grow aggressively.
“Lagos, Dar Es Salaam, Kinshasa: These are the cities that are looking at four- to five-fold increases in population. By the end of the century, the lion’s share of large cities, the top 20 if you will, most of those will be in Africa,” co-author and professor Daniel Hoornweg told VOA News.
The researchers suggest that Niamey, the capital of Niger, a West African country with the highest birth rate in the world, could also explode from a city of about one million people to be the world’s eighth-largest city, with 46 million people, in 2100. Blantyre in Malawi could also move from 1 million to 40 million.
Asia will also experience massive urban growth, with Kabul in Afghanistan projected to hit 50 million people.
The world’s population is forecast to reach up to 14 billion by the end of the century. Eighty percent of those people will be living in cities, the research says. Often, urbanization comes with its associated problems of poor sanitation, slums, congestion and pollution.
Nevertheless, the Canadian researchers say increasing urbanization can be a positive thing.
“Cities, by their nature, because of a more compact lifestyle, can provide a quality of life higher than anywhere else with less energy per unit of GDP,” Hoornweg said.
“So, cities actually provide a really important opportunity. We will not get to global sustainability without big cities.”