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African Cities Carbon-Copy Chinese Designs As Urbanization Gathers Pace

African Cities Carbon-Copy Chinese Designs As Urbanization Gathers Pace

Kalimba New City, located near Angola's capital city, Luanda

Africa’s population is booming and urbanization is quickly gathering pace with population ballooning in major cities on the continent, Tech Insider reports.

According to reports, the continent will have more than four billion people by the close of the 21st century, up from just one billion today. In terms of density, Africa’s population has increased from 8 people per square kilometer in 1950 and is expected to reach 80 people per square kilometer by 2050.

To cater for this increasing demographic that’s moving to cities, African governments in countries like Angola, Kenya and Ethiopia are adapting Chinese-style housing developments that has been able to support the Asian giant’s rapidly growing population.

In cities like Nairobi, Commercial buildings are becoming taller by the day as local architects use Chinese cutting -edge technology to cut the time and materials needed to build them. Residential bungalow housings are quickly being replaced with high-rise gated estates.

Ethiopia is a classic example of the continent’s rapid trip up the skyscraper league tables. By 2017, this country, whose economy is also among the fastest growing in Africa, will boast a 58-story building built by a private Chinese developer, Guangdong Chuanhui Group, People Daily reported.

China’s growing presence in Africa has also influence this shift in housing policy by governments on the continent.

In 2009, China surpassed the US as Africa’s largest trading partner, amassing trades totaling more than $200 billion. Chinese contractors have become a common site across African cities as they help build railway lines, roads, apartment buildings, and offices — all following the Chinese model.

According to a report by Michiel Hulshof, a journalist, and Daan Roggeveen, an architect, who visited Africa in 2013 to learn how urbanization was taking place on the continent, people across Africa are excited about the influence China has had on urban development.

In an essay for their art project, “Facing East: Chinese Urbanism in Africa,” the duo say while other countries like Russia, India, Brazil and Turkey are all involved in urban development in Africa, China has had an upper hand in securing construction deals for its companies operating in Africa.

“This competition means that Chinese companies have to actively engage in winning Africa’s ‘hearts and minds,” they said.