Africa present plenty property opportunities

Africa poses a plethora of investment opportunities for the corporate real estate market despite challenges, said Vincent Lottefier, CEO of Corporate Solutions for Europe Middle East and Africa at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Lottefier was addressing the Africa Property Investment Summit in Johannesburg. He said the African continent is an economic dynamo, with six of the world’s fastest growing economies being African.  Coupled with rapid urbanisation, with more than 50 cities in Africa having populations of over one million and Ernest and Young predicts that by 2030, 50% of Africans will be living in cities.

He said some of the world’s largest global corporates across the consumer goods, financial services and energy sectors expanding rapidly across the continent.

He said Jones Lang LaSalle recently produced a Sub-Saharan Africa Real Estate Transparency 2012 Index which reveals the varying real estate transparency levels in South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Botswana, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius.  The Index quantifies real estate low level of transparency in the region which remains a significant challenge for corporations and investors looking to access the substantial growth opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.  South Africa stands head and shoulders above the rest of the continent while Botswana, Kenya and Mauritius show signs of emerging transparency.

The extensively researched index indicates that many African countries are still ranking in the lower end of important global rankings in a number of key areas.  The World Bank’s Doing Business reports ranks Mauritius and South Africa in the top 50 out of 183, with Botswana, Ghana, Namibia and Zambia ranking in the top half of the index.  Angola, despite its many opportunities ranks poorly in the ‘ease of doing’ business indicators.  A similar pattern is seen in the corruption index, which saw Angola being the most corrupt country in Africa according to the World Bank Doing Business Report 2012 and Transparency International 2012.

“Albeit many corporate real estate challenges in Africa, there are many untapped opportunities as international investors and corporations are widening their activities across a broad range of geographies driving investment and development

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