Emerging African real estate trends in focus at forthcoming summit and expo

Emerging African real estate trends in focus at forthcoming summit and expo

The 22 000m2 Novare Lekki shopping mall in Lagos was developed at a cost of $83 million.

This year’s API summit and expo promises to be the most robust and optimistic gathering in recent years as more than 600 executives representing 250 companies from 30 countries seek to capitalise off the 3 to 4% GDP growth continent-wide, as well as rising commodity prices headlined by $70 oil prices and greater political stability in Africa’s major bellwether economies.

Leonard Michau of Broll Property Group says investors and developers are taking a more informed approach, and Standard Bank’s Gerard Zeelie says there is growing consumerism in Africa.

According to summit host, API Events’ managing director, Kfir Rusin Africa’s resurgent economies and property markets are increasingly viewed as a smart destination for investors as global business leaders hunt for yields and growth.

“This year’s theme – Building a Smarter Future for African Real Estate – will build the platform for influential property stakeholders to connect with each other and discuss issues around optimal sizing and restoring global confidence, while also unpacking innovations in building, identifying new funding avenues, and fostering better market transparency.”

The innovative far reaching theme and achievable objectives have gained traction with some of Africa’s largest pan-African property brands. These include its largest bank, Standard Bank, Africa’s most active acquirer of diverse property assets, Grit – Real Estate Income Group, Africa’s largest multidisciplinary property services company, Broll Property Group, and Ethiopian Airlines signing up as this year’s official airline sponsor.

Noted for her bullish views on African investment and rapid acquisition of assets in multiple African geographies, Grit chief executive Bronwyn Corbett, says: “The most significant factor contributing to a smarter future for Africa real estate is a change in perception around Africa in general and Africa real estate specifically. In 2018, foreign direct investment, political stability and infrastructure improvements have all been catalysts for creating more depth in Africa’s real estate markets, and the world is slowly figuring out the opportunities present on the continent. Real estate has a big role to play in tapping into these opportunities.”

Accessing and waking to the continent’s opportunities has been a business advantage and imperative for the summit’s lead sponsor, Broll Property Group, whose regional and continent leaders attend each year to share insights, debate and network with their peers.

The group’s head of African operations, Leonard Michau, says: “The API Summit & Expo is well organised, and provides a range of high-quality content, speakers, and panellists.”

Standard Bank’s head of real estate finance, Gerhard Zeelie, says: “The API Summit & Expo provides an important platform for delegates to showcase the trends and themes driving opportunity in real estate.”

Rusin says: “This year we have some of Africa’s leading innovators including Respublica, The Capital Hotel Group and the Zero Carbon Group delivering first time case studies to African stakeholders on student housing, serviced apartments and prefabricated affordable housing solutions.”

Additional case studies and presentations included in this year’s two-day conference include presentations by the Washington State Investment Board, the UN General Council on the future of Africa’s cities, Mauritius’ Smart Cities, the first African Index Real Estate Index Fund and bespoke retail and consumer insights and panel discussions with Novare, Massmart and Sagaci Research.

With Africa’s consumer and retail market estimated to be worth over $1 trillion in two years, the evolving and growing sector is of major concern to the continent’s major funders, investors and the overall economy. As Standard Bank’s Zeelie says: “We are seeing growing consumerism in Africa, with increased use of mobile. The retail market, for example, is rapidly evolving and responding to changed consumer behaviour.”

“Having successfully doubled its property investment and development conference portfolio across the continent in 2018 from four to nine conferences due to investor demand and sector activity, the interest in African real estate development is rising and reflects a changing view of the continent’s emerging markets,” Rusin concludes.

The ninth annual summit will be held in Johannesburg on September 20 and 21.

Visit www.APIsummit.co.za.