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North Africa cities, Johannesburg hold best prospects – PwC

Joburg took fifth position thanks to its infrastructure network.

North African cities and Johannesburg, in the continent’s south, are creating the best opportunities in the region for investors and the people who live in them, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In a study published on Tuesday, titled “Into Africa – The Continent’s Cities of Opportunity,” PwC examined factors including economic growth, the state of infrastructure, human talent and how society operates. On these measures, it ranked the capitals of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria — Cairo, Tunis and Algiers, respectively — along with Casablanca in Morocco, as the most attractive cities on the continent for opportunities. These long-established cities have had time to develop infrastructure, establish cultural and social traditions and create strong legal systems, according to PwC.

Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub, took fifth position thanks to its infrastructure network and services that were set up quickly for “political reasons,” PwC said.

“We believe that these cities demonstrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of Africa’s urban future,” said Kalane Rampai, PwC local government leader for southern Africa.

Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana, has built a reputation for the quality of its telecommunications system, low rate of crime and as a bulwark of democracy, PwC said. It, and the Nigerian commercial center, Lagos, are known for being cultural hubs, while Nairobi, the capital of Kenya in East Africa, is regarded for its financial services, PwC said.

Africa is one of the world’s three fastest-growing regions, with economic expansion forecast at 5.2% in 2015-16 compared with 4.6% a year earlier, the World Bank said in October. The drivers of growth include investment in infrastructure, agriculture, retail, telecommunications, transportation and finance, the Washington-based lender said.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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