According to Knight Frank’s Africa Horizons Report 2021/22, Nairobi is the top city in Africa for innovation and ranks among the top 100 globally. Nairobi ranked ahead of Cape Town which came in at second place, while Kampala followed at third, with Cairo and Johannesburg at fourth and fifth place respectively.
The research interrogated over 100 data points applied to 29 capital cities from a long list of over 500 cities in Africa to arrive at a unique innovation score.
The three components looked at where innovation activity such as the total number of start-ups; level of innovation funding and innovation infrastructure such as the number of research institutions leading to Nairobi being the stand out performer.
With this report, it’s imperatively highlighted that the ability of African cities to emerge resilient from the pandemic will depend on their ability to innovate, providing long term social solutions to their residents, attracting funding and generating new demand for space.
The report shows that the move towards innovation has been amplified in the resultant opportunities in asset classes.
Data centers in particular are anticipated to grow while the markets remain underserved. The main drivers towards the growth of this asset class is the move towards localization of data, rising demographics and the influx in capital focused on data centers.
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 center hubs such as Dublin and London whose live IT power stands at 795.8MW and 728.25MW respectively.
The top 10 Innovative Cities in Africa were ranked as:
- Cape Town
- Dar es Salaam
- Addis Ababa