MENA cities’ population to reach 226 million by 2020

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More than 226 million people will be living in cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by 2020, accounting for nearly 62 percent of the region’s total population, the United Nations (UN) has estimated.

According to the latest revision of the World Urbanisaton Prospects report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a two per cent average annual urbanisation growth rate will exist across the MENA region until the end of the decade, as predominantly youthful population gravitates toward cities in search of improved work opportunities and better lifestyles.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman in particular will have dense urban conglomerations, with 45.1 million people expected to reside in GCC cities by 2020 – 85 percent of the total estimated population.

The constant migration toward regional cities will put greater stress on already limited and underdeveloped urban infrastructure and resources, urging governments to implement strategies that create resilient and sustainable cities for the future.

Ensuring a city’s well being, growth and development will be the key message at the Future Cities conference, taking place from 8th-10th October at the Dubai World Trade Centre, and running alongside the Cityscape Global exhibition.

Organised jointly by the Dubai Municipality, Environment Center for Arab Towns, the Arab Towns Organisation, and Informa Exhibitions, the three-day summit has attracted world-leading authorities on 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.

Now in its 12th edition, Cityscape Global 2013 has attracted more than 200 international and regional exhibitors covering 25,000sqm of exhibition space. The global real estate showcase has been on an upward growth curve since 2011, and will be the largest it has been in four years.

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