urban innovation for emerging cities
urban innovation for emerging cities


Utopia and Future Africa team up to launch 2020 Africa Megacity Prize

Utopia and Future Africa team up to
launch 2020 Africa Megacity Prize




Utopia and Future Africa team up
to launch 2020 Africa Megacity Prize

Today Utopia and Future Africa announced they are teaming up to launch a 2020 Africa Megacity Prize to back the next generation of urban innovators and innovations for emerging cities and their slums. The urban innovators will be supported by Utopia’s efforts to establish a network of urban venture studios called CITYLabs to help shape Africa’s positive urban future.

The future of cities is in Africa. Thirteen of the twenty largest megacities in the world will be in Africa by the end of the century. African cities will double in size by 2050. That explosion in growth has already begun. Much of these cities’ systems and infrastructure has yet to be built. A new model of urban growth can take hold in Africa.

There are just ten years left to achieve the 2030 SDGs. African cities are exponentially growing and we won’t be able to reach the Sustainable Development Goals unless there is an acceleration of emerging urban solutions and technologies in these cities. The cities that are growing so rapidly are the very same cities that often don’t have an urban ecosystem and platforms to support that growth.

How can urban startups help transform the future of cities across Africa? Will this urban solution make the city better for the many, not just the few? This is the central question the prize is considering for each urban startup.

The prize will launch in early 2020 and provide early stage startups with seed capital, support from Utopia’s CITYLabs, mentorship from international experts, access to city governments where possible, and an open invitation to work out of Utopia’s studio in Silicon Valley. It will prioritize entrants from Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, Johannesburg and Cape Town but will consider early stage urban startups across the region. 

Corporate partners, investors and governments are invited to join the Africa Megacity Prize to help catalyze the emerging African urban innovation ecosystem. Uncap has joined as an initial anchor funder and as a strategic partner. With their tech-driven approach to screen for entrepreneurial potential, Uncap will add an unbiased, scientific layer to the due diligence of the prize.

About the Producers

Utopia is an urban innovation group for emerging cities and their slums. They are building an urban ecosystem for emerging cities by establishing a network of urban venture studios across Africa, Asia and Latin America. It’s currently working to establish CITYLabs in Lagos and Nairobi. Learn more about Utopia’s approach from its Manifesto.

Future Africa is a community in a deep conversation on Africa’s future. They take informed opinions about the future (and history) of Africa and turn them into simplified and engaging content which generates robust conversations about our collective future that everyone can participate in.


The urban center of the world is radically restructuring itself. What new models of urban living will we see emerge out of these highly dynamic and adaptive environments? Jonathan Hursh, Founding Partner of Utopia

When I reflect on how technology has changed our lives over the last 10 years, I’m even more excited about the future it will help us build over the next 50 years. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder of Future Africa

It’s almost inevitable that critical infrastructure will need to be built to support Africa’s urban future. We are super excited to be supporting the entrepreneurs putting in the work now to build the future Africa deserves. Emmanuel Adegboye, Managing Partner of Utopia Lagos

Recommended Reading

Africa’s Cities Are About to Boom – and Maybe Explode (Bloomberg)

Slums could inspire the cities of the future. Here's how. (WEF)

African cities will double in population by 2050  (WEF)

Utopia’s Manifesto (Utopia)

Media Contacts 

Jonathan Hursh
Founding Partner of Utopia
WhatsApp +1 4156915969

Emmanuel Adegboye
Managing Partner of Utopia Lagos
Africa Strategy Lead for Utopia

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji 
Cofounder of Future Africa


Jonathan Hursh