Lagos is the most populous city in Africa with a population exceeding 24 million. It is one of just two cities with a population of more than 20 million, with Cairo being the second.
The next three cities that complete the top five most populous cities in Africa each have populations exceeding 8 million. These countries include Kinshasa (14.9 million), Nairobi (9.6 million), and Johannesburg (10 million).
Here are the most populated cities on the African continent, ranked in terms of their respective population.
Top 15 Most Populated Cities In Africa, 2022
This is a list of the largest metropolitan cities in Africa. Figures are from the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects report, as well as from worldpopulationreview.
1. Lagos, Nigeria – 24 million
Lagos is Nigeria’s largest city and its economic capital. The Lagos metropolitan area has a total population of roughly 24 million as of 2022, making it the most populous city in Africa.
The city is a major African financial centre and is among the top ten of the world’s fastest-growing cities and urban areas. The megacity has the fourth-highest GDP in Africa and houses one of the largest and busiest seaports on the continent.
2. Cairo, Egypt – 21.3 million
Known as the City of a Thousand Minarets, Cairo is the largest city in Egypt, the second largest city in Africa, and also the largest metropolitan area in the Middle East and the 15th largest globally.
The city accounts for 11% of Egypt’s population and 22% of its economy (PPP). The majority of the nation’s commerce is generated there, or passes through the city.
Cairo is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area.
Today, the Egyptian capital has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University.
3. Kinshasa, DR Congo – 14.9 million
Kinshasa is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital and the largest city in the country.
Kinshasa is Africa’s third-largest metropolitan area after Cairo and Lagos. It is also the world’s largest largest French speaking city in the world, with French being the language of government, education, media, public services and high-end commerce in the city.
Kinshasa’s population is estimated to be between 13 million to 14.9 million by various sources.
4. Johannesburg, South Africa – 10 million
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the provincial capital of Gauteng, it is also the wealthiest city in Africa and also one of the 50 largest urban areas worldwide.
Johannesburg is considered the economic hub of the African continent and is often the first choice of destination by job seekers across the continent. Johannesburg generates 16% of South Africa’s GDP and employs 12% of the National Workforce.
According to various sources, Johannesburg has an estimated metropolitan population of 10 million.
5. Nairobi, Kenya – 9.6 million
Nairobi is Kenya’s largest city by population and the fifth largest metro city in Africa. The last official population was taken in 2009 and at that time was 3,138,369 in the city proper. That number has since grown to approximately 4.9 million. The metro area has over 9.6 million residents.
6. Giza, Egypt – 8.9 million
Giza is the second-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and the sixth-largest city in Africa with a total population of 8.9 million as of 2022.
Giza which has always been a focal point in Egypt’s history is most famous as the location of the Giza Plateau, the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including a complex of ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples.
7. Luanda, Angola -– 8.6 million
Luanda is the capital and largest city in Angola. It is Angola’s primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban centre.
Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world and the most populous Lusophone city outside Brazil, with over 8.6 million inhabitants in 2022.
8. Algiers, Algeria – 7.8 million
Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. The city’s population at the 2008 Census was 2,988,145 and in 2011 was estimated to be around 3,500,000. Currently in 2021, the population of the larger metropolitan city is estimated to be around 7.8 million.
9. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – 7 million
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, also its population is the largest in all of East Africa. The total population of Dar es Salaam is over 7 million making it the 9th most populated city in Africa. The city is one of the fastest-growing city in Africa
10. Khartoum, Sudan – 6.1 million
Khartoum or Khartum is the capital of Sudan. With a population of 6.1 million, its metropolitan area is the largest in Sudan.
Khartoum is an economic and trade centre in Northern Africa, with rail lines from Port Sudan and El-Obeid. It is served by Khartoum International Airport, and Khartoum New International Airport is under construction.
11. Alexandria, Egypt – 5.4 million
Alexandria is the third most populated Egyptian city and 11th most populated city in Africa. At last count, the city’s population was nearing 6 million, exceeding 5 million at the end of 2020, with a population density of 4,800 people per square mile.
12. Accra, Ghana – 5.4 million
Accra is the capital of the Republic of Ghana. It is also the most populous city in the country.
The city is one of the most urban in the country, and it has developed significantly since the 1990s.
In 2020, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network think tank designated Accra as a “Gamma −” level global city, indicating a growing level of international influence and connectedness
The most recent estimates show that the population of metropolitan Accra is 5.4 million.
13. Abidjan, Ivory Coast – 5.3 million
Abidjan is the largest city in ivory coast and the thirteenth largest in Africa, the city’s population is estimated to be around 5.3 million. Abidjan is the 3rd largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris and Kinshasa.
14. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 5 million
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. The city is the largest metropolitan city in the country by population and the 14th most populated city in Africa, with a total population of 5 million.
15. Cape Town, South Africa – 4.7 million
Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa behind Johannesburg and it is the provincial capital of the Western Cape.
The city is known for its harbour, its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, and for landmarks such as the magnificent Table Mountain and Cape Point.