Grand Towers Abuja Mall opening highlights Nigeria’s economic potential

Grand Towers Abuja Mall opening highlights Nigeria’s economic potential

Grand Towers Abuja Mall will make a big difference to shoppers in Abuja.

A 10 000m2 shopping mall opened last month in Nigeria’s Abuja, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.

Grand Towers Abuja Mall in the Dutse District of Abuja has 8 300m² of lettable space and more than 350 parking bays. The 42 shops cover a retail mix of food, fashion, speciality, electronics, sports equipment, furniture, home improvement, entertainment and banks. The mall funded by the Novare Africa Property Fund 1was officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Kingsley Mamabolo.

Novare Equity Partners, an African private equity manager based in South Africa, is the sub-adviser to the Novare Africa Fund 1, which was listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange in 2010 with a mandate to invest in commercial property development in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.

Cell 1 of the fund has a commitment of $81 million and Cell 2 was opened in May 2012 for fund raising. It has a number of developments at the acquisition phase, and construction of two more malls in Nigeria is on the track for this year.

Grand Towers is anchored by SA retail giant Shoprite, the biggest retail group in Africa. Shoprite has been joined by various Nigerian retailers as well as international brands Adidas and Kentucky Fried Chicken, SA restaurant chain Spur, banks, pharmacies and mobile phone companies such as MTN.

Work started on the mall in January 2011 and the project has been completed on budget, according to Deon Bruwer, head of African property for Novare Equity Partners.

Many of the technical people involved in the project were brought over from SA to supervise certain aspects, bringing the collective experience of over 300 shopping mall developments on the African continent to the project. They teamed up with Nigerian consulting companies with knowledge of local conditions.

Abuja was developed as the capital city of Nigeria in the 1980s to alleviate congestion in the commercial capital Lagos, and to symbolise geographical and political neutrality. New urban areas are springing up on the edges of the city limits as the population increases and a growing business sector supports the large number of public servants who live in the city.

Stanley Duru, chief executive of Grand Towers Realty Ltd, says it is estimated that in the past few years the number of people living in the city has increased by at least half a million. A major benefit for the mall development is that most Abuja citizens are middle and upper income earners.

The city has a relatively large and rapidly growing middle class of salaried government workers, diplomats and others with regular incomes that, on average, are higher than elsewhere. It is also the conference hub for Nigeria, with many international visitors in the city’s top hotels and venues.

Shoprite’s chief executive, Whitey Basson, has repeatedly stated his positive stance on expansion into Nigeria. Shoprite has three stores in Lagos and one in Enugu in addition to the Abuja supermarket. Basson says he intends to open over 600 stores in Nigeria, given the potential he sees in the market.

“We were extremely happy with the response to our opening in Grand Towers. The people of Abuja are definitely looking for a place where they can do their shopping under one roof. We look forward to future developments in the city as we believe there are many more areas that can accommodate world class shopping malls like Grand Towers,” says Gerhard Fritz, Shoprite’s retail director for Africa.

Derrick Roper, chief executive of Novare Equity Partners, says the Grand Towers Abuja Mall project will make a big difference in the day-to-day lives of shoppers in Abuja.

“The Novare Africa Fund’s first phase of investments is in West Africa, leveraging off the African expansion strategies of key South African and international companies. The fund aims for US dollar returns of 25 percent a year and we look forward to the Grand Towers Abuja Mall contributing to the achievement of that objective.”

Novare Equity Partners has signed a memorandum of understanding on five other mall developments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Construction of these should start at the end of the year.



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