Africa's most competitive city


JOBURG has once again come out tops, emerging as the continent's most competitive city according to a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research report that was commissioned by the global financial services company, Citi.

Hot Spots, as the report is called, examined the competitiveness of 120 of the world's major cities in terms of their ability to attract business, capital, talent and tourists. Joburg topped the charts for Africa, landing at 67.

"This report was commissioned for us to comprehend the importance of market competitiveness and to recognise where growth, opportunity and talent are likely to be found in the future," said the Citi South Africa chief country officer, Donna Oosthuyse. "These findings offer significant facts which can be utilised to the benefits of our clients, institutions and municipalities."

It was noted, however, that African and Latin American cities were less competitive on a global scale and that South African cities were the only ones in Africa that acted as decent competitors on the world stage; on the whole, it was found that European and American cities were the most competitive, with New York taking top spot.

A key conclusion of Hot Spots was that the findings of the report itself could help African cities build up their competitive standings by focusing on the areas outlined for development and improvement. For instance, investment in infrastructure was identified as a major area that would drive future growth.

The report stated: "Infrastructure investments will drive emerging market growth, but more will be needed to secure their attractiveness to tomorrow's talent.

"One of the most pressing challenges for emerging market cities in the decades ahead will be whether they can focus their development not just on skyscrapers, rail links and other infrastructure, but also on the softer aspects that will be crucial to their ability to attract and develop tomorrow's talent – including education, quality of life and personal freedoms, among other things," it read.

"In addressing these aspects of competitiveness, cities in Latin America and Africa, including Buenos Aires [60th], Johannesburg [67th] and Cape Town [73rd], can quickly improve their performance in the ranking."

For the Hot Spots report, cities were measured in eight categories of competitiveness: economic strength, human capital, institutional effectiveness, financial maturity, global appeal, physical capital, social and cultural character, and environment and natural hazards.

The complete report can be found on the Economist Intelligence Unit website.