News / Africa

Africa’s Megacities a Major Draw for Young Up-and-Comers

Africa’s Megacities a Major Draw for Young Up-and-Comersi
X
February 05, 2014 8:34 PM
London. Paris. Lagos. The list of international megacities is growing, with more and more African entries on the list. Mayors from the world’s megacities met this week in Johannesburg to discuss the challenges their cities face. VOA’s Anita Powell took to the streets of gritty Johannesburg to unravel the allure of the African megacity.
Anita Powell
London. Paris. Lagos.  The list of international megacities is growing, with more and more African entries on the list.  Mayors from the world’s megacities met this week in Johannesburg to discuss the challenges their cities face. 

Like many Johannesburg residents, Simphiwe Kahla came from somewhere else. The 24-year-old student hails from a town in the rural Eastern Cape province, but said Africa’s economic hub was now his home.

“ Here, you actually stay on your toes. It keeps you on your toes, it’s all about hustling, it’s all about business. I think I would really get bored if I would have to return to the Eastern Cape,” said Kahla.

FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.
x
FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.
FILE - Johannesburg is emerging as one of the continent's first "mega-cities"- bringing both opportunities and challenges as South Africa extends its dominance northwards.
Simphiwe Kahla is one of millions of people who have in recent years swarmed to Africa’s megacities: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Cairo, Egypt; Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa. Together these very different cities contain a staggering 20 million people.

Mayors from more than 40 megacities met in Johannesburg to discuss the many challenges faced by megacities.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauded the urbanization of Africa.

“In 2011, there were 52 African cities with a population higher than one million people. By 2016, in only two years, there will be around 65. And that’s a good thing," he said.

Africa megacities faced extra challenges, said Johannesburg’s executive mayor, Mpho Parks Tau.

“The difference of course is that megacities in the developing world have to deal with informalization of settlements because as people come into the city there isn’t always adequate accommodation to have those people coming to the cities. A lot of them find themselves in inadequate accommodation in slum environments,” said Tau.

Hannah Edinger, a director with the research group Frontier Advisory, said one of the things that makes African megacities unique was that there just weren’t enough of them.

“What is interesting about African cities, unlike European cities for example, is there is only a few cities, and these cities are expanding quite rapidly," said Edinger.

Many new Johannesburg residents, like Songezo Mcapukisi, said they ccme here - not for the culture, the diversity or the restaurants - but for the money.

“We’re faced with the reality that our skills, they are only needed in the megacities, in the metropolitan cities. You know, I studied accounting, and there are no jobs for accountants back home,” Mcapukisi.

Lawyer Chris Baird is one of the large number of young professionals who have flocked to Johannesburg.

“All of my friends are here. It’s a great place in terms of being a young professional. It’s where the great work is. It’s the economic hub of the country … I’ll give you, it’s not nearly as pretty as Cape Town, but it’s where you need to be if you want to climb up the ranks,” he said.

It may be a concrete jungle, but for more and more Africans, it’s home.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid