The African continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change
Today at the African CEO Forum of 2015 in Geneva, PwC (http://www.pwc.com) launches the first edition of its ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report, which details the potential of 20 African cities that we believe to be among the most dynamic and future focused on the continent. The report is part of PwC’s global Cities of Opportunity series and its analysis is structured around the critical issues of the business community as well as those of the office holders and other public authorities who are responsible for improving the collective life of each city examined here.
The African continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change. Urbanisation is of particular importance, as by 2030, half of Africa’s population will live in cities where economic activity and growth will be focused and which will become communication centers and hubs for social trends. The global megatrends are colliding across Africa. The growing middle class, strong demographic growth with an improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments and a growing choice of investment partners from the global south, as well as fast-paced urbanisation are all shaping what the future of Africa will look like.
Stanley Subramoney, PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa, says: “We have sought to answer ‘what makes an African city one of opportunity’ by developing a set of questions that investors should ask themselves and themes which city politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness. This report assesses how the cities are performing not only on a regional level but also on an international one, which is hugely important in terms of these cities being able to compete and prosper on both of these stages.”
PwC studied four indicators: the economy, infrastructure, human capital and population/society (which itself contains 29 variables). From this analysis, two rankings emerged: ‘general’ and ‘opportunities for cities’. “We believe that these cities demonstrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of Africa’s urban future. Our evaluation and re-evaluation of that future is, of course, a continual work in progress,” adds Kalane Rampai, PwC Leader for Local Government for Southern Africa.
North African cities lead the way
Four of the top five cities in the report are located in North Africa: Cairo, Tunis, Algiers and Casablanca, with the fifth being Johannesburg.
The preponderance of North African cities at the top is mainly due to how long they have been established. This has given them time to develop infrastructure and a regulatory and legal framework, and to establish a socio-cultural ecosystem. Johannesburg is the only exception to this pattern since it was only formed more recently, in 1886 (compared to the other cities it’s ranked highly with), and was developed rapidly for political reasons. Therefore, its infrastructure and services are comparable to those of the more established African cities.
African cities with promise
Another major criterion of a city’s potential is the vision they have for their future. Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a good example of a city that has a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond for the quality of its communications infrastructure, low crime rates and steady democracy. Economically, it ranks second for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment and the diversity of its GDP.
Most of the African cities with promise can (and will), with a little effort and organisation, climb to join those cities at the top of our overall ranking. Moreover, many of them have already become key regional platforms, such as Dar es Salaam and Douala as centres for telecommunications, Accra and Lagos for culture, and Nairobi for financial services.
Outside our top five cities, Kigali finishes at the very top for both ease of doing business and health spending; Abidjan ranks number one in both middle-class growth and diversity; Dar es Salaam is first in GDP growth; and Nairobi outscores all African cities in FDI.
With 5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class, Africa is extremely appealing to investors. After undergoing a period of pessimism about the future of Africa with some exaggerated optimism, leaders today share a more realistic view of the economic climate of the continent. This is what PwC calls ‘Afro-realism’.
The trends identified in the report, with the generally accepted economic data supporting the notion that cities are the world’s ‘engines of growth’, make ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report not only necessary but extremely timely.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
PwC (http://www.pwc.com) helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com
PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please seewww.pwc.com/structure for further details.
Stanley Subramoney: PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 4380
Email: [email protected]
Jocelyn Newmarch: Account Manager: Edelman, South Africa
Office: + 27 11 504 4000
Mobile: + 27 84 462 1111
Email: [email protected]
Sanchia Temkin: Head of Media Relations, PwC
Office: + 27 11 797 4470
Email: [email protected]
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC
AMAZON ERROR ALLOWED ALEXA USER TO EAVESDROP ON ANOTHER HOME
A user of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in Germany got access to more than a thousand recordings from another user because of “a human error” by the company.
The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.
“This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case,” an Amazon spokesman said.
The first customer had initially got no reply when he told Amazon about the access to the other recordings, the report said. The files were then deleted from the link provided by Amazon but he had already downloaded them on to his computer, added the report from c’t, part of German tech publisher Heise.
CRYPTOCURRENCY INDUSTRY FACES INSURANCE HURDLE TO MAINSTREAM AMBITIONS
Cryptocurrency exchanges and traders in Asia are struggling to insure themselves against the risk of hacks and theft, a factor they claim is deterring large fund managers from investing in a nascent market yet to be embraced by regulators.
Getting the buy-in from insurers would mark an important step in crypto industry efforts to show that it has solved the problem of storing digital assets safely following the reputational damage of a series of thefts, and allow it to attract investment from mainstream asset managers.
“Most institutionally minded crypto firms want to buy proper insurance, and in many cases, getting adequate insurance coverage is a regulatory or legal requirement,” said Henri Arslanian, PwC fintech and crypto leader for Asia.
“However, getting such coverage is almost impossible despite their best efforts.”
Many asset managers are interested in digital assets. A Greenwich Associates survey, published in September, said 72% of institutional investors who responded to the research firm believe crypto has a place in the future.
Last month, Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz’s chief economic adviser said that cryptocurrencies would gain wider acceptance as institutions began to invest in the space.
Most have held off investing so far however, citing regulatory uncertainty and a lack of faith in existing market infrastructure for storing and trading digital assets following a series of hacks, as well the plunge in prices.
The total market capitalisation of crypto currencies is currently estimated at approximately US$120bil (RM502bil) compared to over US$800bil (RM3.3tril) at its peak in January.
“Institutional investors who are interested in investing in crypto will have various requirements, including reliable custody and risk management arrangements,” said Hoi Tak Leung, a senior lawyer in Ashurst’s digital economy practice.
“Insufficient insurance coverage, particularly in a volatile industry such as crypto, will be a significant impediment to greater ‘institutionalisation’ of crypto investments.”
Regulatory uncertainty is another problem for large asset managers. While crypto currencies raise a number of concerns for regulators, including money laundering risks, few have set out clear frameworks for how cryptocurrencies should be traded, and by whom.
Insurance might allay some of the regulators’ concerns around cyber security. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission recently said it was exploring regulating crypto exchanges, and signalled that the vast majority of the virtual assets held by a regulated exchange would need insurance cover.
Keeping crypto assets secure involves storing a 64 character alphanumeric private key. If the key is lost, the assets are effectively lost too.
Assets can be stored online, in so-called hot wallets, which are convenient to trade though vulnerable to being hacked, or in ‘cold’ offline storage solutions, safe from hacks, but often inconvenient to access frequently.
Over US$800mil worth of crypto currencies were stolen in the first half of this year according to data from Autonomous NEXT, a financial research firm.
Some institutions have started working to solve this problem, and may provide fierce competition to the incumbent players.
This year, Fidelity, and a group including Japanese investment bank Nomura have launched platforms that will offer custody services for digital assets.
Despite the industry’s complaints, insurers say that they do offer cover. Risk advisor Aon, received some two dozen inquiries this year from exchanges and crypto vaults seeking insurance, according to Thomas Cain, regional director, commercial risk solutions, at Aon’s Asian financial services and professions group.
“It is not difficult to insure companies that hold large amounts of crypto assets, but given the newness of the asset class and the publicity some of the crypto breaches have received, applicants need to make an effort to distinguish themselves,” Cain said.
The industry also says it is getting closer to solving the custody problem.
“This year there have been a number of developments, and some providers have developed custody solutions suitable for institutional clients’ needs,” said Tony Gravanis, managing director investments at blockchain investment firm Kenetic Capital.
“Players at the top end of the market have also been able to get insurance,” he said.
But this is not the case for all.
One cryptocurrency broker, declining to be named because of the subject’s sensitivity, said insurers struggled to understand the new technology and its implications, and that even those who were prepared to provide insurance would only offer limited cover. “We’ve not yet found an insurer who will offer coverage of a meaningful enough size to make it worthwhile,” he said. – Reuters
CTECH’S THURSDAY ROUNDUP OF ISRAELI TECH NEWS
Scrapped London Skyscraper set to dominate Tel Aviv skyline. A tower ditched mid-construction in London due to the economic downturn of 2008 is now being resurrected in Tel Aviv in the midst of the city’s unprecedented tech boom. Watch the video
Acquisition by Medtronic complete, Mazor delists. Medtronic paid $1.3 billion in cash for the Israeli surgical robotics company. Including Medtronic’s existing stake, the deal is valued at $1.7 billion. Read more
Israelis receive 8.5 spam calls a month, according to Truecaller. The country ranked last among the top 20 countries affected by spam calls in 2018, according to a new report released by the company. Read more
Innoviz expands globally, sets up a commercial manufacturing line in China.The Israel-based LiDAR maker has doubled its employee count in the past year and intends to recruit additional personnel for research and development, business and sales. Read more
Particle analyzer company PML sold following liquidation. The company developed electro-optical systems for monitoring and measuring fluid particle sizes and concentration.