African cities are changing, one big project at a time. From magnificent skyscrapers to megacities built from scratch, the list is endless. These multimillion-dollar construction projects in Africa are giving its cities a much-needed facelift, but it is not all for show.
The projects are of great economic and social value to both the citizens and the government by providing job opportunities, improving the quality of life, and making the cities attractive to investors. Here are 20 construction projects in Africa that are worth noting.
#1. A New Administrative Capital – Egypt
The Egyptian government is building a smart city that will serve as its new administrative capital. The project began in 2015 and will accommodate about 6.5 million people when completed. The total cost is said to be up to $58 billion. An additional $45 billion is needed to relocate the various ministries, embassies, palaces, and parliament to the new building. Key features of the smart city are its solar farm, green gardens, and a theme park.
#2. Dangote Petroleum Refinery – Nigeria
Nigerian refineries are in a dismal state leaving one of Africa’s biggest crude oil producers to depend on petroleum import. However, Dangote is changing that narrative with an indigenous refinery capable of processing 650,000 barrels a day, making it the largest single-train refinery in the world. The refinery sits on 2,635 hectares of land in Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lekki, Lagos State. It is said to cost more than 12 billion dollars. The refinery is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2022.
#3. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) – Ethiopia
Although shrouded in controversy, the GERD is yet another ambitious construction project in Africa. The dam will cost about 5 billion dollars and produce 5.15 gigawatts of electricity. This is enough to cater to Ethiopia’s electricity needs and that of other neighboring African countries.
Construction of the dam began in 2011 but progress is slow because of the controversy between Ethiopia and Egypt over the dam. Interestingly, President Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia inaugurated the project on February 20, 2022. During the inauguration, it was announced that one of the turbines had started generating 375 megawatts of electricity.
#4. Konza Technopolis – Kenya
Konza technopolis is Kenya’s smart city project taking place a few kilometers from Nairobi. the Kenyan government allocated 2000 hectares of land for the project. The city is part of the government’s vision for the year 2030 and will serve as the central hub for everything tech, science, telecom, and education.
The estimated cost of this smart city is 14.5 billion dollars and it will generate about 20,000 jobs when completed. The first phase of the project’s horizontal infrastructure works is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
#5. Grand Inga Dam – Congo
Congo is fast-tracking the construction of a major hydroelectric power plant known as the Grand Inga Dam. The name grand indeed befits the enormous dam which could generate up to 70 GW of electricity. Congo plans to export some of the power generated from the dams to countries in Africa and Europe. The estimated cost of the project is 100 billion dollars for a total of 7 or 8 dams. This makes it one of the biggest construction projects in Africa.
#6. The 6th of October City Monorail – Egypt
This is part of a two-line rail system that is under construction in Egypt. The 6th of October monorail links the Giza Governorate with the 6th of October and Sheikh Zayed’s cities and connects 12 stations namely Gamaet El-Dewal Station, Ring Road, El-Marioutia, El-Mansouria, Cairo/Alexandria, Hyper One, Juhayna, Urban Communities Authority, El-Hosary, Dar Al Fouad, Industrial Zone, and Express Train. The total length of the rail is 42 km.
#7. New Administrative Capital Monorail – Egypt
The second part of Egypt’s monorail runs from the Cairo Governorate to the New Cairo and the New Administrative Capital. This line is 54 km in length and connects 21 stations namely the stadium, Hisham Barakat, Noori Khattab, the seventh district, the free zone, Al-Mosheer Tantawi, Cairo Festival, Choueifat, Air Force Hospital, Al-Narges District, Mohamed Naguib, the American University, Emaar, Al-Nafoura Square, Al-Barwa, the Middle Ring Road, Mohamed bin Zayed, Regional Ring Road, Al-Massa Hotel, Al-Wezarat District, the Administrative Capital.
#8. Lekki Deep Sea Port – Nigeria
This is a multipurpose deep seaport in Lagos, Nigeria. The Lekki deep seaport has three terminals, a 1,200 meters long quay, three container berths, and a storage yard with 15,000 ground slots. The seaport is capable of handling vessels weighing up to 45,000 DWTs. Also, provisions are made for future expansions to a total capacity of 160,000 DWT. It will be the deepest seaport in Nigeria when completed this year according to the official report.
#9. Greater Tortue Ahmeyin Project- Senegal
This is a liquified natural gas project situated offshore in deepwater that lies between Mauritania and Senegal. The production capacity of the facility will be 10 million tonnes of LNG per year when completed. The project will be executed in phases Interestingly, the development of Phase 1 began in 2019. By the end of this year, the facility will start producing LNG in commercial quantities. The Greater Tortue Ahmeyin project is the deepest offshore project in Africa.
#10. Expansion Of The Suez Canal – Egypt
The Egyptian government’s plan to expand the Suez Canal is no doubt one of the biggest construction projects in Africa. The Suez Canal is an important sea route connecting Europe with Asia. It is also one of Egypt’s major sources of revenue. Prior expansion work on the canal was done in the canal in 2015. However, the Egyptian government plans to carry out further extensions.
The plan includes expanding the southmost part of the canal from 30 km to 70 Km. The dam will also be dredged to increase the depths of the canal from 66 ft to 72 ft. This will make it easier for ships to navigate through the canal and a recurrence of the Ever Given Event will be less likely.
#11. Caculo Cabaça Dam – Angola
This is a hydroelectric power plant under construction in Angola. The Caculo Cabaço Dam will house the biggest hydroelectric station in the country with an expected capacity of 2,172 megawatts. The dam is 103 meters high, 553 meters wide, and will cost about 4.5 billion dollars. Angola will use most of the 2,172 megawatts of electricity generated by the dam. The rest will be exported to countries in Southern Africa.
#12. National Railway Project – Ghana
The Ghanaian government is constructing an interconnected network of rail lines to boost logistics. The railway will connect Ghana’s major cities and strategic mineral sites. The project also includes rehabilitating the colonial railway which is in bad condition. Ghana’s old colonial railway is about 947 km long. This brings the total length of the new railway project to 4600 km. The project will cost about 21.5 billion dollars.
#13. Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project – South Africa
The Redstone solar thermal project was announced in 2015 by the South African Department of Energy. The plant will generate up to 100 megawatts and cost about 715 million dollars. The plant will have an operating lifespan of 30 years and will be using a unique solar technology, the first of its kind in Africa. The technology is capable of storing up to 12 hrs of full-load energy and will deliver stable electricity to more than 200,000 homes across South Africa at peak periods.
#14. Grand Theatre OF Rabat – Morocco
This is a 55,000 square meters performing arts theatre in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The theatre boasts of 1800 seats, an open-air amphitheatre with a capacity of 7000, a rehearsal space and a restaurant. The project aims to promote art and cultural development in Morocco and will cost about 143 million dollars. The Grand Theatre of Rabat is part of an ambitious project by King Mohammed VI that includes; a national archive, a new archaeological museum, residential areas and a business district.
#15. Kumasi Airport Expansion Project (Phase 2) – Ghana
The Kumasi Airport in Ghana is undergoing a 75.23 million dollar expansion project. The second phase of the expansion work began in 2018 and involves the extension of the runway from 1.9 km to 2.3 km. This will increase the capacity of the airport to accommodate larger aircraft.
The project also includes the construction of a new passenger terminal and multi-service facilities. The new terminal will be able to handle more than one million passengers when completed. This is part of a bigger project that the Ghanaian government is undertaking to enhance tourism in the country. The airport is 77% complete with a June 2022 timeline for full completion.
16. F – Tower – Ivory Coast
Another ambitious construction project in Africa is the F – Tower, a 283 meters tall skyscraper. The building will be located in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. When completed, the F-Tower will be the second tallest skyscraper in Africa after the Iconic Tower in Egypt. The F-tour has 64 stories that will serve as office space and a 200 seat auditorium. The work is expected to start in 2022 with a completion timeline of between 2024 and 2025.
#17. Grand Egyptian Museum – Egypt
This is an archaeological museum sitting on 480,000 square meters of land. The Grand Egyptian Museum will be the largest archaeological museum in the world and will cost bout 550 million dollars. It will house ancient Egyptian artefacts and among these is the complete Tutankhamun collection. Other exhibits of the museum include 22 mummies, the Khufu ship and a solar barque. The commissioning of the museum will be in November 2022.
#18. Kribi Deep Sea Port – Cameroon
The deep seaport in Kribi, Cameroon will serve to decongest the Doula port. Development of the Kribi seaport comes in many phases and involves the construction of a road and railway infrastructure. The first phase of the project was completed in 2015.
It consists of a 350 meters long quay with a depth of 15 meters and a terminal capable of carrying up to 1.5 million tons. The second phase of the project will see the expansion of the quay’s length by 700 meters. After completion, the Kribi Deep Sea Port will be the largest port in Cameroon and one of the largest in Africa.
The second phase passed acceptance testing on May 2, 2021 and was put into use. However, the country will likely start seeing the gains of having the largest seaport in 2022.
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#19. Tanzania’s Standard Guage Railway Project – Tanzania
Tanzania is among the few African countries building a standard gauge railway network. The railway project will connect Tanzania to other countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project is divided into five major phases. However, only phases 1 and 2 will be operational in 2022. The total length of the two phases is 550 Km from Das es Saleem to Makutopora. The total cost of the first two phases so far is about $2.35 billion.
#20. The El Hamdania Project – Algeria
The government of Algeria is building the country’s first deepwater port in El Hamdania. The 3.3 billion dollar port will have a capacity of 25 million tons per year. The port will also handle up to 6.5 million containers per year in its 23 terminals. Upon completion, the port of El Hamdania will be the second largest deepwater port on the continent. Interestingly, the location of the port gives it a strategic advantage over Morocco’s Tanger-Med port. This is because it will likely become the main hub serving North African countries and the Mediterranean.
On taking a closer look, it is easy to see the driving power behind the ongoing construction projects in Africa. It is the desire of African countries to position themselves as a cultural and economic stronghold. This is why most of these projects focus on addressing key problems like energy, logistics and transportation as well as cultural misappropriation.
Is there a huge project in your country we did not capture in this report? Feel free to share with us in the comment box below.