Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi Ranks High for Innovation in Africa

Prime residential rents declined at a slower rate of 6.02 percent over the past 12 months to June, compared to a 7.62 percent decline in a comparable period in 2020.

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital ranks top in Africa for innovation and ranks among the top 100 globally, according to  Knight Frank’s Africa Horizons Report 2021/22.

South Africa’s Cape Town was second, Kampala third with Cairo (Eqypt) and Johannesburg (South Africa) at fourth and fifth place respectively.

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) came in sixth followed by Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal), Accra (Ghana) with Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) closing the top ten list.

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.

In terms of data centres 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.

Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi Rank High for Innovation in Africa
Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. PHOTO: KHUSOKO

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.

“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,” Tilda Mwai, Knight Frank Researcher for 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.”