Singapore is the fourth-largest financial center in the world and a top logistics hub, possessing the world’s 10th largest foreign reserve. This country is known for having a highly developed economy that is both market and trade based.

Inspired by the success of the Asian nation, three cities dream of becoming Africa’s Singapore.

Kigali, Rwanda

Small and landlocked, Rwanda is hilly and fertile, with a population of about 12.5 million people. Despite lacking natural resources that are seen in many other countries in Africa, Rwanda is working to become one of the most attractive financial hubs on the continent.

As The Economist reported, the country has passed new laws to encourage investing and signed agreements with financial centers as far as Morocco and Belgium. The idea is to “position Rwanda as a gateway to the rest of Africa,” Nick Barigye, chief executive of Rwanda Finance Limited, told The Economist.

Over the past few years, Rwanda has seen strong economic growth, accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards.

Although Rwanda was severely hit by the pandemic, the country decided to promote a set of financial incentives to lure investors from wealthy nations. 

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyan officials signed an agreement with London as part of a plan to launch a financial center in Nairobi.

“We’ve tried to move away from the notion that this is just a business precinct or an iconic tower,” says Vincent Rague, the chairman of the Nairobi International Financial Center. Its partnership, with the city, would help firms listed on the Kenyan stock exchange access foreign capital by allowing them to also list their shares in London.

According to the World Bank, Kenya has made significant political and economic reforms that have contributed to sustained economic growth, social development, and political stability gains over the past decade. The institution states that Kenya has the potential to be one of Africa’s success stories, given its growing youthful population, a dynamic private sector, skilled workforce, improved infrastructure, a new constitution, and its pivotal role in East Africa. 

Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s economy is projected to recover, thanks to commodity price growth and strong domestic demand. 

Currently, Ghana is drafting laws to create its own financial center. Sampson Akligoh, an adviser to the finance minister, told the Economist that Accra can become a hub for everything from pension funds to private-equity firms, like a Singapore.

However, when Ghana first tried to open an “offshore” banking center in the late 2000s the project collapsed and the country was blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, an international money-laundering watchdog.