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

Nairobi ranks as the top city in Africa for innovation and ranks among the top 100 globally


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

The research interrogated over 100 data points applied to 29 capital cities from a long list of over 500 cities to arrive at a unique innovation score 

Knight Frank’s Africa Horizons reveals the top 10 Innovation Cities as:

1. Nairobi

2. Cape Town

3. Kampala

4. Cairo

5. Johannesburg

6. Dar es Salaam

7. Lagos

8. Dakar

9. Accra

10. Addis Ababa

The move towards innovation has been amplified in the resultant opportunities in asset classes. Data centres in particular are anticipated to grow. While the markets remain underserved, the report looks at the main drivers towards the growth of this asset class. The move towards localisation of data, rising demographics and the influx in capital focused on data centres all form part of the key drivers for data centres in Africa

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 categorized 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 categorized 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.

View the full Africa Horizons Report here - 


For all media & PR enquiries, please contact:
Thomas Farmer

Knight Frank has grown to become the world’s largest privately owned global property agency and consultancy company and has a strong presence in the Middle East with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia.

Together with its New York-based affiliate Newmark, Knight Frank has an impressive global footprint network across 57 territories, 488 offices and over 20,000 property professionals and as the world’s leading international property consultant, they continue to build on their long-term global presence across the residential and commercial property and service sectors.

For further information about Knight Frank, please visit or 

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