Joburg ranked Africa’s third-best city for investment and growth opportunities

If you’re looking to invest in Africa, a new PwC report suggests that Cairo, Tunis and Johannesburg are the top three cities offering the best opportunities for future growth and investment prospects


Entitled Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity, the report provides insights into 20 of the continents most dynamic and future-focused cities – information critical for attracting foreign investment.

“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 politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness,” says PwC head of strategy for Southern Africa Stanley Subramoney.

The cities are ranked according to scores derived from 29 variables across four indicators, namely infrastructure, economics, human capital and society, and demographics.

“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.”

North African cities dominate the top end of the rankings with Cairo, Tunis, Casablanca and Algiers ranked first, second, fourth and fifth respectively.

Ranked in third place, Johannesburg is the “exception that proves the rule”, representing the only sub-Saharan African country to feature among the top five cities due largely to the fact that North African cities are older – some even preceding the birth of Christ – and are thus more established in terms of developing infrastructure, a socio-cultural ecosystem and regulatory and legal frameworks.

“Johannesburg is indeed the exception that proves the rule. Although it is a relatively recent city, having been officially founded in 1886, it quickly developed, for historical reasons, a wide-ranging urban infrastructure and municipal organisation that was comparable to more mature, and much larger and more affluent, cities,” the report states.

The report also notes how Joburg city officials were meticulous in their planning from the onset with a vision of creating a city beyond an economic and financial hub.

“It was also, literally from the first moment of its municipal existence, a city that diligently planned and put into place an infrastructural, social, and cultural base that would allow it to thrive and prosper in the future,” the report states.

This vision for the future is a major criterion for a city’s potential promise as an investment and growth hub, and cities like Accra in Ghana and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania through excellence in communications infrastructure and telecommunications exemplify this and put the cities in good stead to climb the ranks.

According to the report, Kigali in Rwanda is the easiest city to do business in on the continent, while Abidjan, the economic capital of the Ivory Coast is at the forefront of middle-class growth and diversity.

Nairobi, Kenya outstrips all African cities when it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI) while Dar es Salaam ranks first in terms of GDP growth.

Top 10 ‘opportunity’ cities in Africa

  1. Cairo (Egypt)
  2. Tunis (Tunisia)
  3. Johannesburg (South Africa)
  4. Casablanca (Morocco)
  5. Algiers (Algeria)
  6. Accra (Ghana)
  7. Nairobi (Kenya)
  8. Lagos (Nigeria)
  9. Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
  10. Kampala (Uganda)