Switched on: Cape Town powers up as a global tech city

Cape Town’s tech infrastructure is gaining attention from international companies and local start-ups. Picture: Pixabay

Cape Town’s tech infrastructure is gaining attention from international companies and local start-ups. Picture: Pixabay

Published Jun 26, 2023


Cape Town continues to shine as South Africa’s leading tech hub and is increasingly finding itself in the international spotlight.

The city’s lifestyle offerings make it an attractive home for locals and foreigners across all sectors and from all backgrounds, but its innovative tech infrastructure is seeing its value and appeal grow in this particular industry.

Local start-ups and top international companies have already made their homes in the Mother City and more are eyeing it out for global expansion.

Notably, says Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, a recent report by Savills highlighted Cape Town as an emerging centre in the FinTech space.

“The report defines the broad area of FinTech as ranging from payment technologies and insurance tech to blockchain and cryptocurrency.

“Having transformed over the past couple of decades into a vibrant, mixed-use destination of choice for businesses, investors, residents, and visitors alike, Cape Town’s central city offers connectivity not only in terms of technology, but also in the sense of providing access to a great lifestyle from a health, work, leisure and entertainment perspective.”

Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape Winelands is also enjoying a growing reputation as a prime tech hub, he says.

Similarly, the Seeff Property Group Seeff believes that the Cape metro is increasingly going to be seen as a new hub for head offices, which already include the likes of Amazon and TakeAlot, and a number of international call centres. This is having a positive knock-on effect on the residential property market.

When it comes to being recognised as a global brand, Cape Town is attracting significant attention. The inaugural Brand Finance City Index 2023 – which, in April, surveyed almost 15 000 people in 20 countries on all continents to measure their perceptions of the world’s top 100 cities – ranked Cape Town as Africa’s best city brand, and 60th globally.

Top spot was awarded to London, followed by New York and Paris.

To arrive at a comprehensive assessment of the city brands in the ranking, alongside measuring familiarity, the survey asked the respondents about the general reputation and their personal consideration of each city as a place to live, work locally, work remotely, study, retire, visit, or invest in. The evaluation of preferences across these seven dimensions was complemented by perceptions of 45 underlying city brand attributes, grouped under seven pillars, such as Business and Investment or Sustainability and Transport.

While Cape Town continues to face socio-economic challenges, Jeremy Sampson, managing director of Brand Finance Africa, says it ranks positively (18th) for the attribute of future growth potential. This is largely attributed to its growing tourism industry, which presents opportunities for economic growth and job creation. Furthermore, Cape Town's strategic location as a major port and transportation hub in South Africa offers a gateway to trade and investment opportunities, especially with emerging markets in Africa.

The City of Cape Town has also just secured €100 million (approximately R2 billion) in developmental finance from the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD). This will be allocated towards the City’s R43 billion medium-term infrastructure plans. The funding will be spread across several categories of infrastructure, including water, sanitation (49%), urban mobility (24%), and access to electricity (17%).

“Cape Town has an ambitious infrastructure investment portfolio of R120 billion over the next 10 year,” says mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“Our aim is to position the city for job–creating economic growth and sustainability, as we build towards our long-term vision of a city of hope for all.

“To achieve this, we must lay the foundation now in the form of water and energy security, better sanitation, a cleaner environment for all, greater urban mobility, and climate change resilience.”