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The Largest Cities in Africa 2019

The Largest Cities in Africa 2019

Want to know more about the largest cities in Africa? Several of them are also listed as the world’s largest cities and the population is growing quickly all over the African continent. 

You can measure the largest cities in many ways, so the list can look different depending on if you measure the city proper or also include the metropolitan area. In this article, you can see the 12 largest cities in Africa by population and size of the metro area. 

The Largest Cities in Africa (by population)

12. Casablanca

Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and is considered to be the economic center of the country even though it’s not the capital. In the city, you can see some old European buildings and architecture which stands side by side with Arabic architecture.

Population: 4,3 million
Area: 20,166 km2
Country: Morocco


Photo: Shutterstock

11. Dar es Salaam

Tanzania is famous for Kilimanjaro (the largest mountain in Africa) and the national park Serengeti. The former capital Dar es Salaam has 4,4 million inhabitants and is also worth a visit. 

Population: 4,4 million
Area: 1,393 km2
Country: Tanzania

Dar es Salaam

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Johannesburg

The largest city in South Africa is not Cape Town, but instead Johannesburg, or “Jo-Burg” with 4,4 million residents. If you measure the greater metropolitan area of Johannesburg, there are almost 8 million people living in the area. 

The city has also made its name as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, and many from the upper and middle classes live in so-called gated communities with guards around 24/7. Johannesburg is also an economic center in Africa, and there are flights from all over the world.

If you plan to visit Kruger Park, you’re likely to fly into Johannesburg as well. 

Population: 4,4 million
Area: 3,357 km2
Country: South Africa


Photo: Shutterstock

9. Addis Abeba

Ethiopia’s capital is another big city in Africa with a population of more than 4,6 million people. Addis Abeba is one of the cities in Africa with the largest number of Christians.

Population: 4,6 million
Area: 527 km2
Country: Ethiopia

Addis Abeba

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Alexandria

Once home to the most important library in the world and since long one of the most cosmopolitan cities with many nationalities living in the city. It is also the second largest city in Egypt with a population of more than 4,7 million people.

Antal invånare: 4,7 million
Area: 2,679 km2
Country: Egypt


Photo: Shutterstock

7. Abidjan

In West Africa, lies Abidjan, which is the largest city in Ivory Coast and also its economical center. Since the 1930’s the city has grown rapidly into what it’s today, much thanks to the harbor which was built around that time period. 

Population: 4,7 million
Area: 2,119 km2
Country: Ivory Coast


Photo: Shutterstock

6. Mogadishu

It is very difficult to estimate how many people are living in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, but experts estimate that around 6 million people live in the metro area, whereas 2,3 million people live in the city center.

There are also no reliable sources that show the total area of Mogadishu, but it’s a very big city. 

Population: 6 million
Country: Somalia


Photo: MDOGAN /

5. Nairobi

Kenya’s capital is another city considered very dangerous, and tourists are encouraged to stay indoors when the dark enters. With that said, there are many people living in the cities and many tourists who are not victims of crimes, but it’s still good to be aware. 

Many who come to Kenya for safari or volunteering will land at the international airport of Nairobi.

Population: 6,5 million
Area: 696 km2
Country: Kenya


4. Luanda

The capital of Angola is one of the largest cities in Africa with an estimated population of 6,5 million with a few more residents than Nairobi.

Population: 6,5 million
Area: 2,417 km2
Country: Angola


Photo: Shutterstock

3. Kinshasa

The third largest city in Africa can be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it’s the capital Kinshasa which is home to more than 13,3 million people.

Population: 13,3 million
Area: 9,965 km2
Country: the Democratic Republic of Congo


Photo: Shutterstock

2. Cairo

Egypt’s capital is primarily famous for its ancient pyramids, but it’s also one of the megacities with more than 20 million residents. The Area surrounding Cairo has been inhabited since pre-historic times, and this is also where the economic center still holds in the country. 

In Cairo, you can see the largest exhibition of archeological findings from ancient Egypt. 

Population: 20,4 million
Area: 17,267.6 km2
Country: Egypt


Photo: Shutterstock

1. Lagos

Lagos is the most populous city in the world and one of the world’s largest cities with 21 million inhabitants. Nowadays, it’s also one of the cities that expands the most and there is something of an economic revolution in the country. 

Estimates show that Lagos grows 2-3% each year, which in numbers will be upwards to 630 000 new residents a year.

Population: 21 million
Area: 1,171.28 km2
Country: Nigeria


Photo: Shutterstock

More about the largest city in Africa

The largest city in Africa by size is without a doubt Cairo, which has a metropolitan area of 17.267 square kilometers. However, if you look at the population, then Lagos in Nigeria is the largest city in Africa with 21 million inhabitants. 

Both cities have a yearly growth at 2% on average, and both Cairo and Lagos are examples of megacities in the “third world” which continues to expand even though the resources are very limited.

Cairo is one of the most polluted cities in the world, and many of its residents live in poverty, which the latter is also prevalent in Lagos. There is a huge gap when it comes to classes and wealth in both societies of the largest cities in Africa. 

For example, only in Cairo, there are 289 slum areas with a big number of people living in extreme poverty.

In Africa’s most populous city – Lagos, it is estimated that 2 million people live in extreme poverty, and 300 000 is estimated to be homeless. However, the future will much likely be brighter for the largest cities in Africa since there are several projects that have been set up to improve the living conditions. 

Many of the problems arise due to overpopulation, which is something that is expected to decrease when more people enter middle-class in society and improve their living standards. 

Largest city in Africa

Photo: Tayvay /

Did you know about the largest cities in Africa or were you surprised? Leave a comment below!