According to the annual “Wealth Report” released by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank on March 5, Ethiopia’s capital is among four cities in the world dubbed as “Cities of the Future”, based on the wealth creation opportunities they will present in the future. The report says, “The cities featured on this spread are not those about to be listed among the world’s top 10 or even top 20 most important cities. Indeed, none of them yet boasts any billionaire residents, according to data from Wealth Insight, but their High-Net-Worth Individual HNWI (millionaire) and UHNWI (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) populations are rising, and they are locations whose influence we believe is growing strongly at a regional level. Even if they are unlikely to be on the second-home list of most UHNWIs, they should certainly be on their radars in terms of the wealth creation opportunities they will present
Africa’s fastest-growing economy, Ethiopia, benefits from not only the political importance of Addis Ababa but also the 3.8% annual growth rate of the population within the capital. In addition to natural growth, there is vast rural urban migration, which planners predict combined could lead to the size of the city surging by 2040 to over 8.1 million.
Wealth creation has seen a near doubling of the population of HNWIs since 2007 to a little over 1,300, with one of the strongest forecast growth rates for the coming decade – with an expected expansion to 2,600 by 2024. The city is understandably witnessing severe growing pains, with public investment in transport including an overhead rail network, and construction dominating GDP growth. Relocation of existing residents to accommodate new infrastructure has caused severe stresses on some sectors of the city’s population.
The Renaissance dam under construction on the Blue Nile is Africa’s largest hydroelectric scheme and could provide energy security – a vital component for economic development.
With the presence of the African Union headquarters, and the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as well as a number of continental and international organizations, the city is commonly regarded as the political capital of Africa, lending a strong diplomatic and political edge to its growing economic strengths.