Top 10 Biggest Slums in Africa

Kenya is home to one of the biggest slums Africa and the world, with most of them found in Nairobi, the country’s capital. A slum, according to UN-Habitat, is an overcrowded urban residential neighborhood in a city that is associated with a lack of tenure security to prevent forced evictions, vice, and subpar housing. Slums are places that lack access to sanitary facilities and clean, safe water.

According to UN-Habitat analyses, Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the worst slum conditions worldwide, with the majority of them experiencing at least two housing shortages. What are Africa’s largest slums then?

According to information gathered by the UN in 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa had the greatest percentage of urban residents living in slums in the world (62%), while North Africa had the lowest (13%). The slums of former French colonial cities in Africa are known as Bidonvilles, though most people call them shanties.

Over the past ten years, several organizations have worked harder to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers. But for a variety of reasons, including rapid rural-urban mobility, inadequate planning, and the informal sector, those initiatives have been disjointed and ineffective.

List of the biggest slums in Africa

This list shows the biggest slums in Africa and their estimated population.

1. Kibera (Kenya) – 700,000


The largest slum in Africa, Kibera is home to an estimated 700,000 inhabitants. It lies 6.6 kilometers from Nairobi’s city center and is characterized by a high unemployment rate, extreme poverty, where most people make less than $1 a day, and instability.

The largest slum in Kenya, Kibera, has few schools, little access to clean water, and residents are plagued by a variety of illnesses brought on by inadequate sanitation and a shortage of bathrooms. Due to unemployment, many young people in Kibera participate in sports, while others look for unpaid work in the unregulated economy.

2. Mathare (Kenya) – 500,000

Biggest Slums in Africa

The fact that Mathare is a conglomeration of numerous unofficial colonies in Kenya’s capital city makes it one of the largest slums in Africa. The New York Times estimates that there are 500,000 people living in the region.

Over the years, Mathare Valley, one of the oldest slums in Mathare, has faced numerous health and social issues, including cholera epidemics and instability. Additionally, access to sanitary facilities and clean drinking water has been made challenging by poor planning.

3. Ajegunle (Nigeria)- 500,000

Biggest Slums in Africa

The biggest slum in Lagos, Nigeria, is called Ajegunle and is an unincorporated community. The place is described by the residents as a jungle metropolis and as swimming in a pool of neglect. In 1995, the area had a baseline population of 156,000 people.

The Local Planning Authority anticipated a population of 500,000 in 2006. Ajegunle, a neighborhood in Lagos, is infamous for its crime, extreme poverty, and substandard housing. It is among the worst and most oppressive ghettos in the nation. However, “where riches dwells” is also the birthplace of football and music icons like Daddy Showkey and Taribo West.

4. Shomolu (Nigeria)– 400,000


South-western Nigerian state of Lagos is home to the town of Shomolu or Somolu. According to Britannica, there are 402,673 people living in the region. Somolu, a residential neighborhood in Lagos, deals with issues such inadequate housing, overcrowding, and poor sanitation.