Kinshasa is already Africa’s biggest city – could cobalt make it the richest? – by Jason Mitchell (Mining Technology – February 15, 2022)

Kinshasa has had a turbulent past but has started to prosper as the Democratic Republic of Congo’s economy expands at more than 6% a year.

Kinshasa – the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Africa’s greatest megacity – is poised to benefit from the massive copper and cobalt boom under way in the country.

In terms of population, it is the continent’s largest city with 17.1 million people living in the greater area, only slightly smaller than the Netherlands (17.7 million). It is projected to become the world’s biggest city with a whopping 35 million inhabitants by 2050, 58 million by 2075 and 83 million by the start of the next century.

The city is located on the Congo River – about 515km upstream from its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean – and faces Brazzaville (population 1.7 million), the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo. The two cities are only 5km apart, separated by the river’s Malebo Pool.

They are the world’s second-closest pair of capital cities (after the Vatican City and Rome). Kinshasa also forms one of the DRC’s 26 provinces. The city-province covers an area of 9,965km2, slightly bigger than the country Rwanda.

As the administrative boundaries of the city-province cover a vast area, more than 90% of its land area is rural in nature (the urban area occupies a small but expanding section on the western side).

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