Cape Town, Joburg move towards fintech fame

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 31 Mar 2022

Cape Town and Johannesburg have improved their rankings in financial technology (fintech) offerings.

This is based on the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), which evaluates the competitiveness and rankings of the major financial centres around the world.

Initiated and produced by think-tanks China Development Institute and Z/Yen Partners, this year marks the 31st-edition of the GFCI, which aims to serve as a reference for policy and investment decisions.

Alongside the main GFCI index, the think-tanks also analyse cities across the globe for their fintech.

According to the index, German, Indian, Chinese and South African centres performed well in the fintech ratings, with significant improvements in the ranking for Munich and Berlin, Mumbai and New Delhi, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Dalian, and Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Cape Town takes the top spot in Africa at number 48, up nine places from 2021. Johannesburg is ranked at number 50, showing an improvement from number 61 last year.

Globally, Chinese and US centres continue to feature strongly in fintech, reflecting their focus on technology development. Beijing and San Francisco have overtaken London in the latest edition of the GFCI, but there is relative stability in their fintech ratings.

Alderman James Vos, Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, says the city’s strong showing in the index is a testament to local businesses being an engine room of innovation and resilience.

“As a city government, we have worked hard to forge a strong foundation for economic development and investment, and are constantly working to make life easier for businesses.

“Part of this includes forming close partnerships with industry bodies to help boost workforces in key industries, such as IT, greentech and business process outsourcing. This has resulted in increased production, investment and job opportunities.”

Vos comments that his goal with officials in the economic growth directorate is to build on the city’s foundations to realise greater investment in the local economy.

As home to tech heavyweights such as Naspers, Takealot, Aerobotics, Clickatell, GetSmarter, Yoco and Sweepsouth, Cape Town boasts a thriving tech and start-up ecosystem.

Last year’s Global Start-up Ecosystem Report ranked the Mother Cityamong the top 100 emerging start-up ecosystems, noting its fintech and edtech environment among its strengths.

The GFCI’s results for the Middle East and Africa reveal Moroccan city Casablanca as the leading financial hub in the region.

However, Cape Town and Johannesburg continue to improve their ranking to challenge for the leading African position, it states.

In terms of the GFCI top ranks and ratings, Cape Town is ranked number 55 globally, moving up seven spots, compared to the index’s previous ranking.

The Mother City is now ranked one place shy of Casablanca, which has held the title as Africa’s top financial centre since 2016, notes Vos.

The Western Cape capital outpaced several cities across Africa. Ultimately, the city is looking to take the crown as the continent’s top financial centre, he concludes.