Existing hub cities will remain key gateways to Africa

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Subject

The role of Africa's cities as business 'gateways'.

Significance

Chinese firm Shanghai Wendai today began work on an 84 billion rand (7.2 billion dollar) project to build a new 'city' and business district in Modderfontein, near Johannesburg. Even if only partly completed, it will reinforce the latter's position as Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) pre-eminent corporate and financial services hub and 'gateway' for businesses operating in the wider region.

Impacts

  • Despite repeated African Union pledges, plans for linking most of SSA's main cities with transcontinental highways will remain aspirational.
  • Fiscal constraints and weak planning capacity will undermine SSA cities ability to prepare for climate risks.
  • SSA role in global cities organisations, eg C40 Cities, will remain limited beyond South African, Kenyan and Nigerian cities.
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