urban innovation for emerging cities
urban innovation for emerging cities

Africa Megacity Prize

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Press Release

Africa Megacity Prize



African cities will double in population by 2050 and Utopia has a plan to help shape that urban future

CAPE TOWN, September 4, 2019 — Today Utopia announced they are launching a 2020 Africa Megacity Prize to back the next generation of urban innovators from Africa who will define the future of African cities. These 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 being asked for each urban solution.

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

Corporate partners, investors, and city governments are invited to join the Africa Megacity Prize and CITYLabs to help catalyze the emerging African urban innovation ecosystem. Future Africa has joined the prize as a strategic partner to help source and support the urban innovators as they support those on a mission to build an African future.  Uncap has joined as an initial anchor funder and strategic partner, bringing their tech-driven scientific approach to the due diligence process.

Reach out to hello@utopia.do for partnership inquiries.

About the Producer

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.


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

The urban center of the world is radically restructuring itself. What new models of urban living could emerge out of these highly dynamic environments? What does a city with 88 million people look and feel like?

Jonathan Hursh, Founding Partner of Utopia

Over the next half century more than two thirds of the world will live in cities. One third of that growth will come from emerging cities in China, India, and Nigeria. Today China and India seem better prepared for the impact of rapid urbanization than many African cities are. Working with Utopia, we are on a rescue mission to change that.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Cofounder of Future Africa

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
WhatsApp +234 8053482392