2014 MasterCard African Cities Growth Index
Launched in 2013, the African Cities Growth Index maps the continent’s economic outlook according to the inclusive urbanization of its cities. Sets of lagging (historical) and leading (forward-looking) indicators were used to rank the cities’ level of inclusive urbanization, forecasting potential for inclusive growth. The 74 analyzed cities were organized into three categories by population size: large (over one million), medium (between 500,000 and one million) and small (under 500,000). Once ranked, the cities fell into one of four bands describing their inclusive growth potential – high, medium-high, medium-low or low.
Accra was the top-ranked city overall and in the large city category. The only African city with high inclusive growth potential, Accra has legislation, policy and resources in place to increase and sustain economic inclusivity among its citizens. This contributes to Ghana’s potential for inclusive economic growth and development. While the city, and Ghana as a whole, does face macroeconomic challenges, the country has had four successful elections following a peaceful transition of power in 2000. The ACGI affirms the importance of advancing and protecting individual freedoms to ensure ongoing economic development.
Casablanca (Morocco) and Freetown (Sierra Leone) are ranked second and third in the large city category, both with medium-high inclusive growth potential. According to the ACGI, this suggests that while cities in this ranking might not currently have the adequate structural foundations or governance for inclusivity, the necessary resources exist to address these issues in the future.
Tunis (Tunisia) is the top-ranked medium city, followed by Libreville (Gabon) and Nouakchott (Mauretania), all three with medium-high inclusive growth potential.
Interestingly, the large and medium cities with the highest inclusive growth potential are located predominantly in North and West Africa, while the small cities with the highest rankings are located in Africa’s island states. São Tomé (São Tomé and Príncipe) ranks highest in the small city category, followed by Victoria (Seychelles) and Port Louis (Mauritius). All three cities have medium-high inclusive growth potential.