Measuring 30 cities from around the world against 100 individual metrics, Savills Tech Cities Index evaluates which cities offer the most successful home for tech and start-up companies. Individual metrics range from the volume of inward venture capital investment to the cost of a flat white coffee.
Cape Town ranked in 30th place and was the only city on the continent to make the list, with the Mother City faring exceptionally well in the real estate and the cost of living sub-category under ‘buzz and wellness’.
Acknowledging that co-working has gone hand in hand with the growth of the global tech sector, Cape Town ranked 6th on the list with residential rent and co-working costs being noticeably lower than other major cities around the world.
Overtaking San Francisco from last year’s rankings is New York City, who takes the lead in 1st place as the premier global Tech City. Factors attributing to the win includes New York’s expansive talent pool and the city’s reputation as a global centre of commerce.
As noted by the researchers, a Tech City possesses five key characteristics:
1. An important centre of tech within its region
2. Major recipient of VC investment
3. On the shopping list for expanding global tech companies
4. A vibrant city in which to live and work
5. A generator of, and magnet for, talent
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, stated: “I am excited to be officially opening the Africa Tech Week conference on Monday 4 March, which is a unique platform which facilitates dialogue and cooperation between companies, government, civil society and the fresh talent of the tech industry. The Savills ranking demonstrates that we are on the right track and how the City of Cape Town is successfully creating an enabling environment for start-up’s and tech talent."
Vos added: "In response to this growing industry the City of Cape Town is continuing to invest in IT infrastructure and to date the City has installed 848km of fibre-optic cable. Towards 2021 the City will spend R1.98bn on fibre infrastructure. As we move further into the 4th Industrial Revolution, all businesses will evolve, in some form, into tech businesses, no matter what sector. With these shifts, the Cape Town tech start-up ecosystem will continue to grow and become more complex. It will become increasingly essential that the City remains focused on how we can facilitate conditions and sustain a supporting environment.”
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, continued: “The Western Cape Government has set a goal of becoming one of the leading tech hubs in the world, and this ranking proves that we are doing all the right things. Our focus on youth skills development, broadband rollout and ease of doing business initiatives like red tape reduction have created an ecosystem in which some of the world’s largest tech companies have chosen to invest, while at the same time creating opportunities for exciting young start-ups.”
Executive Mayor, Dan Plato, added: “Cape Town continues to be a leading city on the continent, with the lowest unemployment levels in the country. We understand that it is our role to create a favourable environment for economic growth. We remain an affordable destination for foreign companies to set up shop on our shores. We are committed to continuing to create an enabling environment for investment and innovation.”
"In Savills Tech Cities 2017 report Cape Town was earmarked, along with Santiago and Buenos Aires, as ‘magnets for talent in their regions’, with the potential to become global players. Cape Town has since been acknowledged as Africa’s leading Tech Capital, employing more than double the people than Lagos and Nairobi combined. It is recognition through esteemed reports of this nature that will continue to position the Mother City globally as a world-class tech destination and a springboard into the rest of the African continent,” commented Wesgro CEO Tim Harris.
Wesgro is Cape Town and the Western Cape's official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and receives its mandate and funding from the Western Cape Government's Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town.