PwC launches ‘Into Africa - the continent's cities of opportunity’ report to highlight potential of the continent and provides some surprises

Published at 08:00 AM on 17 March 2015

LONDON - Today at the Africa CEO Forum 2015 in Geneva, PwC launches the first edition of its report ‘Into Africa - the continent's cities of opportunity’, which details the potential of 20 African cities that we judge to be among the most dynamic and future focused of the continent. The report is part of PwCs global Cities of Opportunity series and its analysis is structured around the critical issues of the business community as well as those of the office holders and other public authorities who have responsibility for improving the collective life of each city examined here.


The continent sees five trends merge: demographic change, urbanisation, technological advances, the shift in economic power and resource scarcity. Urbanisation is of particular importance because by 2030, half of Africa's population will live in cities which are where economic activity and growth will be focused as well as becoming communication centres and a hub for social trends.  The megatrends, as we call them in PwC, 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 could look like.


Paul Cleal, partner and PwCs Africa Business Group Leader commented: “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 on 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 studied four indicators: Economy, infrastructure, human capital and society & demographics (which in total contains 29 variables).  From this analysis, two rankings emerged; ‘overall’ and ‘opportunity’, from this unique perspective which emphasised the dynamism, vision and efforts by cities to develop, the report throws up some surprises.


Overall ranking

PwCs top 20 African cities of opportunity


North African cities lead the way

Four of the top five cities in our report are located in North Africa; Cairo, Tunis, Casablanca and Algiers.  The preponderance of North African cities at the top is mainly due to the length of time they have been established.  This has given them time to develop infrastructure, regulatory and legal frameworks as well as establishing socio-cultural ecosystems. Johannesburg is the only exception to this pattern, it was formed more recently in 1886 (compared to the other cities it’s ranked highly with) and was developed rapidly for political reasons.  Therefore, the infrastructure and services are comparable to the more established African cities.


Opportunity ranking

PwCs top 10 African cities with potential

Several of the more ‘forward-looking’ variables were combined in the opportunity indicator in order to highlight those cities in which future opportunities may lie (rate of real GDP growth, ease of doing business, attracting FDI, city middle-class growth, and population growth).


Another major gauge of a city’s potential is in the vision they have for their future.  Accra, the capital of Ghana 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, it ranks second for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment and also for the diversity of its GDP.


Most of the African cities with promise can (and will) climb to join those cities at the top of our overall ranking, with a little effort and organisation. Moreover, many of them have already become key regional platforms such as Dar es Salaam and Douala as ports, Accra for telecommunications, Lagos for Culture and Nairobi for financial services.


With 5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class, Africa is exceptionally appealing to investors. After suffering a period of pessimism about the future of Africa with some exaggerated optimism, leaders today share a more realistic view of the economic situation of the continent and it's what PwC calls ‘Afro-realism’.


Africa is at an exceptional, historic crossroads, if there was ever a moment for an entire continent to seize the day, this is it.




Notes to editors 

  • The full report is available from here (
  • Use #IntoAfrica and follow us on Twitter
  • Through a process of extensive review and refinement, 29 variables were chosen and grouped under four indicator headings; infrastructure, human capital, economics and society & demographics.  Several, more ‘forward-looking’ variables were combined to highlight cities in which future opportunities may lie. The final choice of variables, and their underlying weightings, is unavoidably subjective but also based on our experience with our global report and knowledge of local markets.
  • This report is part of PwC’s global Cities of Opportunity series that helps governments, businesses and citizens improve their economies and quality of life. PwC has taken the insights gained from the key indicators and variables developed for its global report and expanded its investigative reach to focus on Africa as a whole. We have carefully scrutinised and refined the criteria used in our global report to take into account the African specific context, current issues and prospective strategies. The available data and analysis does have limitations and only tells part of the story and there is still, no substitute, for exploring what’s happening on the ground.


 About PwC

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©2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers. All rights reserved.


Simone Bresi-Ando

PwC | Senior Manager - Media Relations
Office: 020 7804 4302
Email: [email protected]
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
1 Embankment Place, London WC2N 6RH


About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details. © 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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