Cape Town has been dubbed the African City of Opportunity, according to a recent research report published by PwC.
Presenting PwC’s research findings this morning, in partnership with Wesgro, Councillor Brett Herron (Mayoral Committee Member for Transport & Urban Development for the City of Cape Town) said: “With an unemployment rate 13 percentage points lower than the national figure, and 10 points lower than the average metro, Cape Town is a city of genuine opportunity for millions of people.”
Overall, Cape Town ranked 24th out of all 31 cities, 6th out of the middle-income country cities (behind Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Shanghai and Mexico City) and 1st in Africa.
The report benchmarks Cape Town against 30 of the world’s leading cities across 66 indicators of urban success. The 30 cities identified are global centres of finance, commerce and culture and represent among them a sizeable proportion of the world economy.
The 66 indicators were grouped under 10 key variables including: Intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; city gateway; transportation and infrastructure; health, safety and security; sustainability and the natural environment; demographics and liveability; economic clout; ease of doing business and cost.
The Mother City’s strongest scores were in: cost; ease of doing business; transportation and infrastructure; and sustainability and the natural environment. Moderate scores were reported in intellectual capital and innovation; and health, safety and security. Areas for improvement include economic clout; technology readiness; city gateway; and demographics and liveability.
More often than not, the city’s areas of strength are those that it has been allowed more power to control, while its areas of development often come down to one of two factors: global competition and, most notably, inequality.
Explaining the reasons behind some of the shortcomings, Dominic Boyle, PwC’s Senior Manager for Cities & Urbanisation explains, “Although Cape town ranks top in technology readiness in Africa, it lags behind other cities on a global scale. For example, Amsterdam alone host 900 Tech events a year and leading cities are continuously looking for ways to improve connectivity – although Cape Town is making progress in these areas, it falls short when benchmarked against other cities globally.”
Jon Williams, Head of Cities & Urbanisation, PwC Africa added: “Cape Town is a city with strong fundamentals, aspiring talent and a palpable excitement, set against a backdrop of inequality, which is borne out of the country’s past but which will play a role in the city’s future.”
Highlighting opportunities for improvement, the report contains a number of recommendations aimed primarily at the city and provincial government, but they also apply to national government, business and civil society, all of whom have an interest in the success of Cape Town, these include:
- Make education and safety top priorities, even though they are complex.
- The city should continue to embrace technology and innovation and not be afraid to experiment.
- As the city embraces ‘water resilience’ in the long-term, it should also be aware of and ready to react to financial, economic and social shocks.
- In an ever-more connected world, Cape Town should learn from the best cities that are implementing innovative solutions.
- The city must build on the success of its tourism.
- Collaboration between government, business and citizens will unlock latent potential.
- A city-centric government is a win-win.
- The city should make use of big data to help solve important problems.
- City leaders should actively drive data-led delivery.
- In order to realise these opportunities the City of Cape Town must attract and retain the best people.
- The city should also continue to build on its foundations of urban finance and infrastructure that have given it the strong platform it enjoys today.
In a final comment, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, commented: “It’s a real credit to Cape Town that we’re even on this list. Taking a closer look at middle income cities used as benchmarks in the report, 9 of the 13 cities are more than double the size of Cape Town. With the exception of Rio, every other city on the list is either the largest city in their country, or their capital city. We are all ambassadors for the place we live in and love – it is up to all of us to promote this little city on the tip of Africa that punches well above its weight.”