Business & Economy

Maputo ‘has best inclusive growth potential in Africa’

MAPUTO‚ the capital of Mozambique‚ has the best potential for inclusive growth compared to other large African cities.
Casablanca in Morocco and Lagos in Nigeria rank second and third respectively‚ according to the 2015 MasterCard African Cities Growth index (ACGI).
South Africa’s cities are ranked lower in 2015 than last year and are likely to experience greater inequality over the next decade‚ the index states.
‘Slow economic growth combined with increasing populations make it likely that South Africa’s cities are likely to experience greater inequality over the next decade‚’ the report states.
Pretoria is the South African city with the greatest potential for inclusive growth‚ followed by Johannesburg‚ Durban‚ Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Now in its third year‚ the ACGI maps African cities’ economic outlook according to their potential for inclusive urbanisation. The 74 analysed cities are organised into three categories by population size: large (over 1-million)‚ medium (between 500‚000 and 1- million) and small (under 500‚000). Twenty-five economic and social inclusion indicators are measured.
‘The ACGI assesses the potential of Africa’s cities to increase the well-being of their urban populations‚’ George Angelopulo of the University of South Africa‚ author of the 2015 ACGI‚ said in a statement. ‘As inclusive urbanisation is a prerequisite for inclusive growth‚ the study presents a measure of each city’s potential as a place to live‚ work and do business in the coming years.’
Maputo’s inclusive growth potential falls into the medium-high category‚ attributed to its share of Mozambique’s foreign direct investment (FDI)‚ which as a percentage of national GDP is among the highest in the world. The city is praised for: constantly improving levels of government effectiveness; regulatory quality and ease of doing business.
Angelopulo notes that Casablanca is the only North African city with medium-high growth potential‚ supported by Morocco’s relative stability in a turbulent region.
In Lagos (Nigeria)‚ the third-ranked large city which also has medium-high growth potential‚ the increase in percentage of middle-class households is significant due to the number of citizens that increase represents‚ and the effect they will have on future consumption in the city.
The 2013 and 2014 top-ranked city‚ Accra in Ghana‚ now ranks seventh due to lower than anticipated revenue from the country’s Jubilee oil fields‚ exacerbated by the collapse of the oil price. The cost of wage increases‚ subsidies and debt repayments further undermines economic expansion projected for Accra‚ according to the index.
‘Each city assessed by the ACGI has a unique set of socio-economic‚ cultural and political factors that influences its growth trajectory‚’ says Angelopulo. ‘However‚ a city’s response to the drivers of population growth‚ urbanisation and an increasing middle class ultimately determines the upward or downward direction of its inclusive growth.
‘Cities with skilled and educated populations‚ low levels of crime and corruption‚ higher discretionary income‚ regulatory stability and predictable commercial environments are beacons for talent‚ business and investment‚ and they offer their citizens greater promise than cities without these characteristics‚’ he says.
Matola‚ adjacent to Maputo to the west‚ is the ACGI’s medium-sized city with the highest potential for inclusive growth. It is also the city with the highest potential for growth throughout Mozambique‚ suggesting the positive outlook for the inclusive economic growth and development of Mozambique in the future. Matola is followed by Nouakchott (Mauritania) and Libreville (Gabon). All three cities have medium-high inclusive growth potential.
Of the small cities assessed‚ Windhoek (Namibia) and Victoria (Seychelles) rank first and second respectively with medium-high inclusive growth potential. Gaborone (Botswana) is third‚ with medium-low inclusive growth potential.

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