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Number of megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants in 2050

BASED ON CURRENT PROJECTIONS, the number of megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants is set to increase from 33 today to 47 in 2050. Over the same period, the number of metropolises with a population of between 4 and 10 million will rise from 78 to 125. This development is taking place primarily in the developing and emerging countries. Cities such as Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kinshasa, Lagos and Khartoum are seeing enormous population growth. On the 14 new megacities, 12 will be in the Global South. In the Global North, only London and Chicago will break the 10-million threshold for the first time in the next few decades. The Indian capital New Delhi will already replace Tokyo as the largest city in the world towards the end of this decade. The most populous cities in the world in 2050 are expected to be New Delhi, Dhaka, Tokyo, Cairo and Mumbai. Wilo enjoys a strong presence in all of these regions and is thus well prepared for the growth of the megacities.

Sonnenuntergang über dem Nil in Kairo, Ägypten

Cairo is already a megacity today – and the metropolis on the Nile will be the largest city in Africa in 2050.

Case studies


the total area of the London metropolitan region

To be able to continue providing London, the constantly growing metropolis with millions of residents, and its surrounding areas with a reliable water supply in the future, the water utility company Thames Water is upgrading a large number of its pumping stations. Wilo has been selected as the preferred partner for this project.

THAMES WATER is Europe’s largest water utility company and supplies water to more than 18 million people in London and South East England. It is facing significant challenges on account of its growing population and increasingly extreme weather conditions. Faced with growing demand, the existing sewage infrastructure is reaching its limits. This is why Thames Water is planning to modernise more than 4,000 of its roughly 9,000 sewage pumping stations in the next few years. Wilo has been selected as the preferred supply and installation partner for this ambitious project. Among other things, Wilo will deliver and install the Wilo-Rexa PRO – a solution that is robust, reliable and energy-efficient. Wilo will undertake the planning, delivery, installation and commissioning. The full delivery of the project will thus be provided from a single source, with Wilo acting as a total solution provider. What’s more, Wilo is set to implement a second major project in the United Kingdom: As part of the Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA), it will install around 200 pumps a year in order to pump water from areas with abundant water and a small population to districts where the situation is the exact reverse.

Thames Water relies on the Wilo-Rexa PRO.

Nairobi, Kenya

green energy in Kenya by 2030

Kenya is the strongest economy in East Africa and, on a global scale, a pioneer in the use of renewable energy. The capital city of Nairobi is a rapidly growing metropolis that is also called the “Silicon Savannah” on account of the large number of IT companies it is home to.

Standing 27 storeys tall, CBK PENSION TOWERS is one of the most modern buildings in Nairobi and serves as a symbol of progress and economic strength. Since they were officially opened in 2022, the twin towers have combined offices and retail premises under one roof, thus providing space for business and commercial activities. In addition to the office areas, the skyscraper houses conference rooms and a currency museum. Modern pressure boosting and fire extinguishing systems from Wilo ensure a reliable water supply for the building, which also serves as the headquarters of the Central Bank of Kenya, while innovative Wilo solutions in the area of sewage disposal underscore the towers’ sustainability. With its comprehensive and diverse usage concept, CBK Pension Towers sets new architectural standards in Kenya’s capital city and thus symbolises the East African state’s progress as it steps into the future. Kenya will generate all of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and so many high-tech companies are already establishing a base in Nairobi today that the city is known as the “Silicon Savannah” – Africa’s equivalent to Silicon Valley,

Wilo-SiFire EN

Wilo-SiFire EN – fully automatic pressure-boosting systems for firefighting.

Where new megacities are emerging

It is expected that 14 cities will have passed the 10-million inhabitant mark for the first time by 2050. Twelve of them are in the Global South.

IE 2022
IE 2050
Chicago, USA
8.9 million
10.8 million
London, UK
9.6 million
10.8 million
Luanda, Angola
9.0 million
14.6 million
Surat, India
7.9 million
12.0 million
Khartoum, Sudan
6.2 million
11.2 million
Nairobi, Kenya
5.2 million
10.4 million
Dar es Salaam , Tanzania
7.5 million
16.4 million
Baghdad, Iraq
7.6 million
13.0 million
Tehran, Iran
9.4 million
10.6 million
Ahmedabad, India
8.5 million
13.0 million
Pune, India
7.0 million
10.8 million
Nanjing, China
9.5 million
10.4 million
Chengdu, China
9.5 million
10.6 million
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
9.1 million
13.0 million

Megacities by 2050: urban growth accelerates in global south


Chicago, known as the "Windy City," has the potential to become one of the next megacities in the United States alongside Los Angeles and New York. The city's expected population growth necessitates the development of adequate infrastructure.

As an international hub for finance, culture, education, and technology, Chicago attracts people from all over the world. However, this growth poses various challenges such as the expansion of transport networks, ensuring water quality, modernising housing, and improving public services. By addressing these challenges, Chicago can accommodate its projected population of 10.6 million residents by 2050 (growth of +21% compared to 2022)., preserving its distinctive character while fostering sustainable development.


It is estimated that 11.2 million people will live in Sudan's capital by 2050. This corresponds to an increase of 80 per cent compared to 2022. This rapid growth is driven by rural exodus and overall high population growth in the country. As a centre for trade and business in North Africa, Khartoum attracts a significant number of people. However, the city must grapple with rapid urbanisation despite limited resources and infrastructure. Challenges such as housing shortages, water scarcity, and an overburdened healthcare system arise due to this population growth. Achieving a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability is crucial for Khartoum. This involves measures like securing water supply and improving distribution systems to overcome challenges and ensure the city's long-term prosperity.


Luanda, the capital and largest city of Angola, faces significant challenges due to population growth and urban sprawl. As large industrial companies are based in Luanda, people from across the country and the continent are drawn to the city in search of a better quality of life. However, this influx strains the already weak infrastructure and public services. To accommodate the estimated population of 14.6 million residents by 2050 (a 62% increase compared to 2022), Luanda needs to prioritise investments in transportation, hygiene, and housing construction. Implementing these measures can alleviate traffic congestion, improve living conditions, address issues of inequality and social cohesion, and ensure a reliable and equitable water supply for sustainable development.


Dar es Salaam, the bustling metropolis and financial hub of East Africa, is facing the challenges of rapid urbanisation as more people are drawn to the city's opportunities. Studies project a staggering 118% population increase from 7.5 to 16.4 million people by 2050. This growth will strain the city’s infrastructure and public services. Housing shortages and overloaded transport systems are just the beginning of the obstacles for Dar es Salaam during its transformation into a megacity. Uncontrolled settlements, inadequate public services, and environmental degradation also pose significant challenges. However, innovative urban planning, investment in essential infrastructure, and inclusive governance offer solutions to overcome these hurdles. By embracing these approaches, sustainable growth and equitable development can be achieved for the entire population. Furthermore, expanding the city's water supply infrastructure is crucial to meet the growing demands and mitigate the looming threat of water shortages.


Baghdad is a vital cultural, economic, and intellectual hub in the Islamic world. However, this vibrant city also faces major challenges. With rapid population growth, political instability, and ongoing conflicts, Baghdad must overcome various hurdles. By 2050, it is projected that the city will be home to an estimated thirteen million people, making it the second-largest city in the Arab world. This growth necessitates extensive reconstruction and further development of the infrastructure. Despite religious tensions, refugee flows, and inadequate public services, Baghdad is determined to meet the needs of its expanding population. This can only be achieved through the promotion of reconciliation, the strengthening of social cohesion, and the restoration of trust in the government. Another crucial aspect that requires attention is the security and improvement of the city's water supply infrastructure. Water plays a key role in the stability and development of Baghdad.


The capital of Iran faces dual challenges: population growth and environmental pollution. These pressing issues are further exacerbated by climate change and inadequate urban planning. Tehran, as the second largest conurbation in the Middle East - surpassed only by Cairo - and as a prominent intellectual, economic, and religious centre of Islam, is undergoing continuous expansion. By 2050, it is estimated that Tehran's population will reach 10.6 million. However, with strategic investments in sustainable development, green infrastructure, public transport, and affordable housing, urban planners have the potential to effectively manage this growth. These targeted measures have the capacity to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and ultimately enhance the overall quality of life for the city's residents.


India already boasts six megacities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad. The city of Ahmedabad is also on its way there. However, it must cope with the complexities of rapid urbanisation while addressing deep-rooted socio-economic inequalities. As a significant economic and industrial hub, Ahmedabad continues to attract individuals from all corners of the country. By 2050, it is projected that the city's population will reach a staggering 13 million, representing a remarkable 54 per cent growth compared to 2022. To ensure that this growth benefits all segments of society, inclusive development strategies are crucial. Investing in inclusive development means expanding access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for all residents. By prioritising these areas, Ahmedabad can lay the foundation for its long-term prosperity.


Pune, the ninth-largest city in India, is home to numerous important educational institutions. However, despite its cultural diversity, Pune struggles with a number of challenges including urban sprawl, traffic congestion, and inadequate public facilities.

With a rapidly expanding population, Pune must prioritise sustainable urban planning to address these challenges effectively. Investing in crucial areas such as public transport, green spaces, affordable housing, and drinking water supply is essential. By doing so, Pune can enhance the quality of life for its diverse population and promote more equitable development throughout the city. Looking ahead, it is estimated that by 2050, Pune's population will soar to 10.8 million, marking a significant 54 per cent increase compared to 2022.


Surat, India's renowned "diamond metropolis", faces an urgent task: it must cope with rapid population growth while avoiding environmental pollution and health risks. The city must create a healthier and more sustainable living environment for its residents.

To achieve this goal, it is important to focus on improving waste disposal systems and wastewater infrastructure. By implementing necessary enhancements, Surat can effectively contain air and water pollution, mitigating potential health risks. These improvements will play a vital role in creating a cleaner and more sustainable city. In addition to addressing pollution concerns, Surat must ensure a reliable and safe water supply to accommodate future growth and enhance resilience against water-related risks. The population of Surat is expected to increase to twelve million by 2050.


Nanjing is an emerging megacity in China with a remarkable history dating back to the time of the Chinese dynasties, kingdoms, and republican governments. Today, Nanjing has evolved into a prominent financial hub, as well as a significant centre for culture, education, and research. As the capital of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing faces the dual challenge of rapid urbanisation and the preservation of its rich historical heritage. The ever-growing population and the resulting strain on infrastructure necessitate extensive modernisation efforts while safeguarding the city's cultural legacy. Simultaneously, the government is actively investing in sustainable development practices and innovative urban planning. The ultimate goal is to build a harmonious and sustainable urban environment for future generations. By 2050, it is estimated that Nanjing will be home to 10.4 million people. To accommodate this development, ensuring a reliable water supply is of utmost importance. Therefore, the city is committed to continuously expanding the drinking water infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing population.


Chengdu is a flourishing megacity in China that serves as a vital national hub for finance, trade, culture, and transportation. As the city undergoes rapid urbanisation, it faces significant challenges. By 2050, the population is projected to increase by 11 per cent compared to 2022. However, despite this growth, Chengdu is dedicated to preserving its unique cultural heritage and natural environment for its future 10.6 million residents.

To achieve this, Chengdu is consistently focused on sustainable development strategies. The city is prioritising the enhancement of green spaces, ensuring that nature thrives alongside urbanisation. Simultaneously, efforts are underway to improve the efficiency of public transportation, making it more convenient and environmentally friendly. Additionally, Chengdu is actively promoting the development of an eco-friendly infrastructure, further contributing to a sustainable future.


Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant metropolis located in the southern region of Vietnam. As the city continues to develop into a megacity, it faces various challenges in its quest to provide a higher quality of life for its residents in the long run. As a crucial hub for finance, media, technology, education, and transport in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is dedicated to addressing key issues such as traffic congestion and infrastructure deficiencies. The city is committed to alleviating these challenges by significantly investing in public transportation, expanding green spaces, and fortifying its resilience against climate-related issues. With an estimated population of over thirteen million people by 2050, ensuring reliable drinking water supplies and a secure supply infrastructure are of utmost importance.