Private developers and governments across Africa are backing over two billion square metres of land reclamation and new city projects, costing over $514bn, to cater to the region’s growing urban centres according to Estate Intel’s Africa’s New Cities 2023 Factsheet.

According to Estate Intel, North Africa has emerged as the leading region accounting for 88% of planned new city developments across Africa, followed by West Africa at 5.5% and East Africa at 3%. This distribution has been attributed to increased government commitments to ensure quality living and infrastructure in the face of rising urban populations.

Notably, in terms of the top five countries in new city developments, Egypt emerged as the leading country accounting for 33%, this was followed by Nigeria (17.9%), Mauritius (8.9%), Ghana (7.1%) and Kenya (5.4%).

New City Developments in Africa Key Figures

Dapo Runsewe, Senior Analyst at Estate Intel noted that the development of these new cities is due to rapid urbanisation causing overcrowded cities, straining infrastructure and available resources without adequate affordable housing options amid rising poverty levels. As such, these cities provide an opportunity for developers and the government to create more liveable and connected cities with better infrastructure.

Overall, the demand for planned cities is high across the continent, with at least one conceptual city being introduced in 10 African countries, the Estate Intel fact sheet indicated. For instance, cities such as New Administrative Capital in Egypt, Konza City in Kenya and Diamniadio City in Senegal are expected to present a new face of African cities that is more sustainable, smart and efficient.

Notably, these cities are almost equally funded in the distribution between the government and the private sector with government funding accounting for approximately 48% of the funding while the private sector funding accounted for 46%.

The report highlights 14 new cities across the continent.

Egypt’s New Administrative Capital: That is being developed by the Egyptian government. It is located 45 km east of Cairo. The New Administrative Capital aims to ease the current pressure of overpopulation and urban congestion in Cairo. It consists of residential districts, government administrative districts, parks, and a central business district.

Kenya’s Konza Technology City: Initiated by the government of Kenya in 2008 and is designed to be a technology hub and the flagship project of Kenya’s 2030 vision.

This mixed-use development currently sits on a 20 million square metres site and aims to be a pioneer smart city in Africa.

Ghana’s Appolonia City: Located in the greater metropolitan area of Accra. It is a mixed-use development project by Rendeavour. Upon completion, Appolonia City is expected to accommodate 88,000 residents and 20,000 daily visitors. The first phase of the project has already started and the entire project is expected to be completed over the next 10 years.

Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic City

Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic City: Located in Lagos. It is being built on reclaimed land from the Atlantic Ocean. Eko Atlantic City is intended to be a new, modern city that will help alleviate the housing and infrastructure problems in Lagos. Construction started in 2007 and to date over 6,500,000 square metres of land have been reclaimed.

Kenya’s Tatu City: A planned city on the outskirts of Nairobi. It is a mixed-use development that includes residential, commercial and industrial areas. It is one of the flagship projects of Kenya’s 2030 vision.

Zambia’s Nkwashi City: It features a wide range of housing options including apartments, townhouses, and detached homes, as well as commercial spaces. It aims to provide high-quality, sustainable, and affordable housing for middle-income earners in Zambia.

Egypt’s Al Galala City: That is considered the second largest project in Egypt, after the New Suez Canal Project. Al Galala City is located 170 km from Cairo, on the highest mount plateau in the Red Sea area at 770 metres above sea level at its highest elevation. It will be a fully integrated city with residential, commercial, industrial and hospitality components.

Senegal’s Diamniadio Lake City: That is being developed by the Senegalese government in partnership with Semer Group. It aims to create a modern, sustainable, and livable city that will serve as a catalyst for economic growth. Construction is underway and is due to be completed by 2035.

Nigeria’s Centenary City: A modern city built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Nigeria. Launched in 2014, the city when completed will feature residential, commercial, and industrial areas.

Egypt’s Madinaty City: A modern sustainable city with a high standard of living. It is located on the outskirts of Cairo and is developed by Talaat Moustafa Group, one of Egypt’s largest real estate development companies.

Mauritius Moka Smart City

Mauritius Moka Smart City: This aims to create a sustainable and technologically advanced city to serve as a model for urban development in the region. Moka Smart City will feature a range of residential, commercial and recreational facilities, as well as a business park.

Nigeria’s Alaro City: Located in the North West Quadrant of the Lekki Free Zone. It is an integrated mixed-use city site over 4,900 acres.

DR Congo’s La Cite Du Fleuve (The River City): Is being built on reclaimed land from the Congo River. It was first proposed in the early 2000s to alleviate overcrowding in the capital city of Kinshasa. It is planned to have a population of 7 million people. Construction in La Cite Du Fleuve started in 2009, and to date, several residential developments are already completed and in use.

Mauritius Beau Plan Smart City: A planned development located in the North of Mauritius. It is a mixed-use development that includes residential, commercial and educational areas. The first phase commenced in 2016.

“New city developments in Africa hold great promise for promoting economic growth, improving living standards, and addressing the continent’s urbanisation challenges,” Dapo noted

“Overall, the successful development of new cities in Africa will require a collaborative and coordinated effort among governments, private sector actors, civil society organisations, and local communities. With the right policies and frameworks in place, new city developments in Africa have the potential to be a key driver of economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability for the region in the years to come,” he concluded.

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