Accra the African city with highest growth potential: Survey

A general view taken on June 11, 2012 shows the Alexandra township of Johannesburg. A new survey has ranked the growth potential of many African cities. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Accra is the city with the highest growth potential in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is according to Mastercard’s African Cities Growth Index.

The index, developed in the final quarter of 2012, projected the growth potential of 19 African cities between 2012 and 2017.

Prof Angelopulo of University of South Africa, who produced the index, says several factors make Ghana’s capital come out top.

Key among them is Ghana’s increasing GDP growth per capita and projected population growth.

Others are a strong regulatory environment and the ease of doing business.

The other cities in the top 5 were Lusaka, Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa respectively.

Despite being an economic powerhouse, Johannesburg’s performance was rated lower in certain categories as it is considered a ‘mature’ economy when compared to other African cities.

For example, the expected growth of the middle class in Nairobi was rated higher as Johannesburg’s middle class had been growing since its independence in 1994.


Accra, Lusaka and Luanda have been identified as the Sub-Saharan African cities that have the highest potential for growth over the next five years, according to the MasterCard African Cities Growth Index (Infograph courtesy: Mastercard)

Increasing urbanisation

On why the index focused on African cities, Mastercard president for Middle East and Africa Michael Miebach cited increased urbanisation on the continent as a deciding factor.

“Understanding the long-term growth potential of Africa’s cities, and the resultant increase in African urban consumers, has never been as important.”

According to the UN Settlements Programme, the urban population in Africa will likely triple from 359 million in 2009 to 1.23 billion in 2050. 60 per cent of the African population then will be living in urban areas.

Harare (Zimbabwe), Kano (Nigeria), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), and Khartoum (Sudan) had the lowest growth potential of the 19 cities analysed in the study.

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