Rapid urbanisation is taking place on the African continent and this will see about 600 million regional citizens dwelling in cities by 2030, the PwC report, Into Africa The continent’s Cities of Opportunity, revealed.
The growth in urban dwellers is largely influenced by the pursuit of employment opportunities and urban amenities. This envisaged growth in city dwellers calls for improved infrastructural investment in the continent.
PwC’s head of capital projects and infrastructure, Jonathan Cawood said Africa was at an exceptional historical crossroad and added, this was the moment to seize the day.
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“The growing middle class, the strong demographic growth with improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments for example, growing choice of investment partners are shaping what the future of Africa could look like,” said Cawood in his remarks.
Cawood said cities were engines of growth especially in the developing world adding that they facilitate decisions and actions of investors and policymakers.
“The report highlights the fact that most African cities are on an economic growth trajectory and embracing social development,” said Thabang Chiloane, divisional executive public affairs, Nedbank.
The World Bank has estimated that sub-Saharan Africa needs infrastructure investment of nearly 100 billion US dollars annually; it currently gets less than half of that.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) says untold numbers of businesses suffer due to lack of infrastructure.
"At the most basic level, millions of lives are threatened every day for lack of clean water or safe sanitation," adds IFC.
Infrastructure is crucial as it informs investors' decisions when making investments.
Some of the aspects that investors look for are cities' current development or future potential, location, the nature of the opportunity that is offered, ‘must-have’ vs ‘knock-out’ factors and the time scale for the investment opportunities.
These aspects are the ones that determine what is described in the PwC report as cities of opportunity.
Four of the top five cities of opportunity in the report are located in North Africa, only Johannesburg, which is ranked third is sub-Saharan Africa. The other four are Cairo (Egypt), Tunis (Tunisia), Algiers (Algeria) and Casablanca (Morocco).
Johannesburg’s good showing as a municipal centre with a strong infrastructural network has been historically supported by its mining heritage and associated resources.
(READ MORE: Johannesburg in PwC’s top five African cities)
Executive Mayor of the city of Johannesburg Parks Tau welcomed the report adding that the city had developed a strategic plan that will see Johannesburg remaining at the top.
“We have developed the growth and development plan strategy 2040. This will help us build a city that is liveable and accessible,” said Tau.
He warned that for the city to meet its infrastructural needs it has to invest 100 billion rand in ten years.