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Africa continues to rank high as a top destination for UAE investors

Data centres in particular are anticipated to grow. (Image source: Elchinator/Pixabay)

The UAE ranks as one of the top five FDI source countries into Africa by capital investment, according to  Knight Frank’s Africa Horizons Report 2021/22

The report which outlines opportunities for investment across the continent, notes that Africa’s investment market is expected to remain resilient despite the pandemic and is well placed for investors to capitalise on these opportunities.

Further, the report notes that the ability of African cities to emerge resilient from the pandemic will depend on their ability to innovate, provide long term social solutions to their residents, attract funding and generate new demand for space. Nairobi ranks as the top city in Africa for innovation and ranks among the top 100 globally.

Knight Frank’s Africa Horizons reveals the top 10 innovation cities as Nairobi, Cape Town, Kampala, Cairo, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Dakar, Accra and Addis Ababa.

In terms of data centers capacity, leading markets such as Johannesburg and Nairobi have a total live IT power of 54.9MW and 19.04MW respectively compared to data centre hubs such as Dublin and London whose live IT power stands at 795.8MW and 728.25MW respectively.

The report notes that Africa’s Data Centre markets can be categorised into three distinct tiers. Tier one markets include Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, which are already becoming Africa’s leading data centres markets. Tier two markets such as Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam and Kampala are essentially cities in the most populous of countries or those with strategic positioning, while tier three markets are categorised as low population centres with relatively low ease of doing business.

Tilda Mwai, researcher for Africa, commented, “Innovation coupled with economic growth will drive the next decade of investment in Africa. Lower risk investors will likely favour cities with above-average innovation scores and a robust economy. These include Cairo, Egypt – the stand-out performer – and Johannesburg, South Africa. These cities have the greatest potential to remain economically resilient in the long-term despite undergoing short-term shocks. Cities that score higher for innovation but have less robust economies will attract those willing to take more risk, such as private equity investors. These cities include Nairobi, Kenya, Cape Town in South Africa and Kampala, Uganda.”

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