By Ogova Ondego
Published March 22, 2015
Cairo, Tunis, Algiers, Casablanca and Johannesburg are Africa’s Top Five ‘Cities of Opportunity’.
According to ‘Into Africa: The Continent’s Cities of Opportunity’ report by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released on March 17, 2015 in the Swiss city of Geneva, the domination of the top spots by North African cities “is mainly due to how long they have been established. This has given them time to develop infrastructure and a regulatory and legal framework, and to establish a socio-cultural ecosystem.”
Leading in the ‘African Cities with Promise’ category is Accra, the capital of Ghana. The report says Accra “is a good example of a city that has a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond for the quality of its communications infrastructure, low crime rates and steady democracy.”
Economically, Accra ranks second after Kenya’s Nairobi “for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment and the diversity of its GDP.”
Other ‘African Cities with Promise’, besides Accra, include Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Douala, and Lagos which have already become key regional platforms for financial services (Nairobi), telecommunications (Dar es Salaam and Douala), culture (Lagos and Accra). These ‘African cities with promise’ can join Cairo, Tunis, Algiers, Casablanca and Johannesburg at the top of ‘Cities of Opportunity’ with what PwC refers to as “a little effort and organisation.”
Outside the top five cities, PwC lists Kigali at the top “for both ease of doing business and health spending”; Abidjan is first “in both middle-class growth and diversity”; Dar es Salaam “first in GDP growth” while Nairobi outscores all African cities in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
PwC says “Africa is extremely appealing to investors” with its “5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class.”
Stanley Subramoney, PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa, says: “We have sought to answer ‘what makes an African city one of opportunity’ by developing a set of questions that investors should ask themselves and themes which city politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness. This report assesses how the cities are performing not only on a regional level but also on an international one, which is hugely important in terms of these cities being able to compete and prosper on both of these stages.”
PwC says it studied four indicators—the economy, infrastructure, human capital and population/society—before compiling its ‘Into Africa: The Continent’s Cities of Opportunity’ report.
Saying Africa is characterised by five trends—demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change—PwC says “Urbanisation is of particular importance, as by 2030, half of Africa’s population will live in cities where economic activity and growth will be focused and which will become communication centres and hubs for social trends. The global megatrends are colliding across Africa. The growing middle class, strong demographic growth with an improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments and a growing choice of investment partners from the global south, as well as fast-paced urbanisation are all shaping what the future of Africa will look like.”