Why Pretoria is the new economic hub

2Pretoria is one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa, a fact that is reflected by the scores of high-level companies basing their operations in the metro.

Located within the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and home to the Union Buildings with businesses related to government playing a central role to its economic growth.

Tshwane is home to a diverse and growing population of nearly three million residents.

About 37 percent of its residents are classified as youth, making it one of the youngest and most vibrant cities in South Africa.

There is much evidence to support that Pretoria, often dubbed Jacaranda City due to the many of the purple-flowered trees lining its streets and gardens, is fast becoming South Africa’s other economic capital.

According to Statistics South Africa, Tshwane’s economy is “vibrant, diverse and growing”.

“Its economy is highly service-based with community services and government, financial services and manufacturing as the most significant sectors. Furthermore, the City of Tshwane has been the fastest growing municipality in South Africa, on average, between 1997 and 2011,” read Census 2011 statistics.

“(Tshwane) contributed 27 percent to the Gauteng province’s GDP in 2011 and, for the past decade, its average annual GDP growth has been higher than both the province’s and the nation’s average GDP.

“As a result, the city is taking active measures to firmly position itself as Africa’s leading capital city of excellence. The municipality’s main economic sectors are community services and government, followed by finance and manufacturing. Metal products, machinery and household products are the largest sub-sectors within manufacturing. The city has a well-established manufacturing sector, with the automotive industry representing the most significant component.”

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa has promised efficiency in “driving economic development” and reducing inequality among its residents.

In his budget speech delivered earlier this year, he pointed to the global economic slowdown and unacceptable high levels of poverty in South Africa and undertook to ensure positive change.

“Economic growth and urban growth are inextricably intertwined. The real challenge within the urban transition is for governments to enable an environment that will allow residents to make the most of living in cities,” he said.

“The continued geopolitical trend of urbanisation is increasingly asserted as a positive force for inclusive growth leading to necessary social change and positive political outcomes. Recent research indicates a positive correlation between economic development and urbanisation in most African countries.”

Fortunately for the many people who will likely need to move to Pretoria, the cost of living there is lower than in other major South African cities, according to user contributed city database Numbeo.

A one bedroom flat in the Pretoria city centre will cost an average of just R3 1 67 to rent each month compared to R6 326 in Cape Town or R5 545 in Johannesburg.

Furthermore, Tshwane is home to some of the best living conditions for its residents with deceased unemployment statistics and increased level of services provision including access to water, electricity and sanitation.

“It is increasingly evident that the living conditions in the city are well on their way to being the best in the country,” says Statistics South Africa.

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