Qatar will achieve the highest level of urbanisation in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region by 2020, with 99.5 percent of its estimated population living in cities, followed by Kuwait at 98.4 percent, much above the Mena average of nearly 62 percent, according to the United Nations’ latest estimates.
Other GCC countries such as Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will achieve 89.4, 86.7 and 84.1 percent urbanisation, respectively.
Egypt and Sudan, the two big Arab counties with the largest and second-largest population in the region, will continue to remain the least urbanised by 2020, with only 45.5 and 35.1 percent of their population living in cities, respectively.
As per the latest revision of the World Urbanisation Prospects report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Qatar’s population by 2020 will reach to 2.2 million, of which 2.1 million will be living in cities.
However, in contrast with UN estimates, according to an earlier forecast by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Qatar’s population is expected to reach about 2.8 million by 2020 from the present 1.83 million.
The UN report says more than 226 million people will be living in cities throughout the Mena region by 2020, accounting for 61.7 percent of the region’s total population.
The report says a two percent average annual urbanisation growth will continue across the region until the end of the decade, as the predominantly youth population gravitates towards cities in search of improved work opportunities and better lifestyles.
Sudan will witness the highest rate of 2.7 percent annual urbanisation, followed by Qatar, the UAE and Syria, each to grow at 2.3 percent.
The average urban population in all GCC states (including Qatar) will be 85 percent, with 45.1 million people expected to live in dense urban conglomerations by 2020. The average annual urbanisation growth in the region is estimated to be at 2 percent.
According UN estimates, the GCC population will reach nearly 52.9 million by 2020, while the total population of the Mena region will surge to 366 million.
The constant migration towards regional cities will put greater stress on limited and underdeveloped urban infrastructure and resources, the report says, urging governments to implement strategies that create resilient and sustainable cities for the future.
Ensuring cities’ well-being, growth and development will be the key message at the ‘Future Cities’ conference on October 8-10 in Dubai, alongside the Cityscape Global exhibition.
Organised by the Dubai Municipality, Environment Center for Arab Towns, the Arab Towns Organisation, and Informa Exhibitions, the three-day event has attracted global experts in urban planning to discuss the key pillars of a prosperous city: Security, water and waste management, tourism and hospitality, transport, energy management, disaster relief and green building.
Follow us on our social media channels: