Development of the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana (Visit Ghana)
With a skyline full of skyscrapers and a highway spanning five countries, Africa will soon become home to the world's first official megalopolis.
Megalopolis is a conglomeration of cities larger than a metropolis, which unites several metropolises as a huge urban continuum where the boundaries of the cities are blurred.
In Hebrew it is called Rav-Krach and as of today there are already several megalopolises in the world, but few of their inhabitants have any idea of their existence, or of their name.
The largest megalopolis is the one known as the "blue banana" and it extends over all of central and western Europe and is home to approximately 110,000,000 inhabitants.
Another megalopolis in southern Europe is known as the "Golden Banana" and it extends to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Spain, France and Italy and has about 30,000,000 inhabitants.
The megalopolis of the northeastern United States stretches between Boston and Washington DC.
- About 50,000,000 inhabitants live in this territory and it includes the big cities of Boston, Hartford, New York, the cities of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC.
about their suburbs and their satellite cities.
The megalopolis of the center of the United States is called "the megalopolis of the Great Seas" - it is the largest in the United States both in terms of area and in terms of the number of inhabitants: it is home to about 55,000,000 inhabitants.
In the southeast of Brazil is a megalopolis of about 50,
000,000 people - it includes Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
There is also the Tokaido megalopolis on the island of Honshu in Japan, which extends from the Tokyo and Yokohama cities, to the Osaka and Kobe cities, and the southeast China megalopolis, which includes the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Now Africa also joins the list, only that it is planned in advance.
The giant city in the world that will be built there will stretch for almost 1,000 km along the west coast of Africa - in the coastal strip that starts in the west with Abidjan, the economic capital of the Ivory Coast, passes through the countries of Ghana, Togo and Benin - before finally reaching Lagos - and is expected to inhabit half a billion people within decades.
A glimpse of the world's first megalopolis: high-rise buildings and new tourist facilities will be built when the cities merge (Photo: screenshot, YouTube/Visit Ghana)
Africa is in the midst of a demographic revolution as its population continues to rise.
More and more high-rise towers, offices, shopping complexes and hotels are springing up along the coastlines of the five countries, making the borders between the countries increasingly blurred.
In fact, the world is now watching as the world's first megalopolis develops for it - and as its infrastructure continues to expand, so will its population.
Africa is home to 17 percent of the world's citizens, that is 1.4 billion people.
However, by the year 2100, the United Nations predicts that its population will increase almost fourfold and reach 4 billion - 40% of the world's population. Experts believe that about half a billion people will live within the megalopolis - which stretches from Abidjan in Nigeria to Lagos in the Ivory Coast, through the countries of Ghana, Togo and Benin - At this stage. In fact, by 2035, the population of the region is expected to reach 51 million people.
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The megalopolis will span five countries (photo: screenshot, YouTube/Visit Ghana)
The heads of the African Development Bank have already raised and earmarked a huge sum of 12.6 billion Euros for the creation of a new highway along the Gulf of Guinea from Abidjan to Lagos.
It will be six lanes wide and will not have a toll gate because the vehicles will have chips placed on their license plates, as Lidy Ahuman, a transportation economist at the bank, told the Guardian.
The emerging megalopolis will turn small cities into big ones as intrigued citizens are expected to migrate to the coastal area.
According to experts, this could be the front of the continent's economic boom.
One city along the route that is about to undergo a facelift is Accra, the capital of Ghana.
The country's authorities unveiled a glittering project worth nearly a billion dollars designed to boost its tourism.
New facilities such as hotels, offices and shopping centers will be built there along an area of a thousand dunams around the beach.
Architects from Adjaye Associates hope to transform the city into a "world-class tourist enclave".
There is also an Israeli point here, as Discount Bank will finance the establishment of hospitals and medical centers in Ghana.
The authorities are planning to build a highway that will connect all coastal areas (Photo: screenshot, YouTube/Visit Ghana)
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The Guardian's international affairs columnist, Howard French, believes the region is on track to become "the largest contiguous and congested region on Earth".
He explained: "It will be the fastest urbanizing area in the world, a megalopolis in the making, meaning a large, densely clustered group of metropolitan centers. Abidjan, with 8.3 million people, will be almost as big as New York City today."
He added: "The story of the small towns in the region is equally dramatic. Either they become large urban centers in their own right, or - as in places like Oyo in Nigeria, Takoredi in Ghana and Bingerville in the Ivory Coast - they are gradually absorbed by larger cities."
More high-rise buildings are supposed to decorate the horizon (Photo: screenshot, YouTube/Visit Ghana)
There are also problems
But behind all the glitz, experts fear the local population could be left behind as the new projects pander to the desires of the wealthy.
Communication between countries may be halted, meaning new rail lines and roads needed for transit may not progress from the blueprint stage.
Cities like Accra will undergo a huge transformation (photo: screenshot, YouTube/Visit Ghana)
Alain Barto, a senior fellow at New York University's Marron Institute, told French: "The best thing that could happen to West Africa would be if someone could convince these countries to seriously consider the Asian experience. Crowding itself does not create prosperity. You will have to produce a lot more transportation, Including new railway lines, new roads connecting the coastal road to the hinterland and small cities, where the land is cheaper. In India we saw that even building a corridor that crosses several countries within the same country was difficult. In Africa they will need much better coordination."