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“Africa is the last frontier - the very last - so it has very attractive growth prospects, yet many infrastructure and property investors are not capitalising on what it offers as they are too sceptical of the political landscape,” says Kofi Smith, Managing Member, Consult Three Architects. Development profit margins can be anything between 100 - 200 per cent in some places, he adds.
Consult Three Architects is a sponsor company that will be present at the marcus evans Infrastructure & Property Development MEA Summit 2014, in Dubai, UAE.
Why is the infrastructure and property development industry in Africa lagging behind?
The main issue is and will always be equity. Government agencies are not spending a lot of funds on building basic infrastructure thus delaying development processes, but a small portion of the market, the private sector, has been doing very well investing in real estate.
As the last frontier, what opportunities does Africa offer?
The housing sector is very attractive due to economic growth and high influx of multinational companies. There is a huge demand for affordable housing and middle income housing, governments are spending millions of dollars on mixed use housing/retail developments. Rural retail developments have been a big area of focus in South Africa for example, as the country tries to rebuild previously disadvantaged communities to balance with that of urban areas.
Which markets and sectors would you specifically point investors to? South Sudan and Congo Brazzaville needs to be rebuilt from scratch. Does it make them attractive for developers?
Ghana is really booming and politically stable. Most West African countries are stable, so there has been an influx of multinational companies. However, if you compare Ghana and South Africa, the cost to develop versus the cost of sale, you will find a big difference. In South Africa the profit margin of the typical middle-income housing development is around the region of 20 - 30 per cent - that would be considered successful. In Ghana, the profit margin can be between 100 - 200 per cent. Ghana does not have much of a credit system in place, but investors who go in liquid can make a lot of money. The market is very right for office and high-end housing developments. Retail is also doing well, but getting land in the right location costs a fortune. Demand is so high that it almost does not make the developments feasible.
South Sudan and Congo Brazzaville will need to be rebuilt from scratch, though South Sudan has not been so stable recently and we have been advised to put all investments on hold until it stabilises. I believe now is the perfect time for one to engage in opportunities in Congo Brazzaville as it has become very stable.
In East Africa, Rwanda is doing well economically, while Nigeria is saturated but also has major opportunities due to the population growth and demand.
What local experience or knowledge is required?
Investors need to understand the terrain they want to enter. They must form local partnerships to understand each market better, avoid delays in various approvals and take advantage of the established networks they have in place.
This is where Consult Three Architects’ value proposition lies, where we have established great networks of contacts and decision makers in specific regions to allow successful development opportunities
They must also understand the political landscape of the country and align themselves to new policies. For example, for the next 40 years, the South African government has decided to implement developments within specific areas of the economy.
Interview by: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager
For more information about the summit, contact: Jennifer Keljik, marketing manager
Tel: +1.312.540.3000 x6592
About the Infrastructure & Property Development MEA Summit 2014
Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on performing a delicate balancing act by adopting a superior level of quality, sustainability and convenience within allocated budgets, and validating development plans to showcase the booming market and deliver profit-generating products.
Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.
About Consult Three Architects
Consult Three Architects (C3) is an Architectural, Urban Design and Project Management Company based in South Africa. C3 is founded and composed of Architects and Project Managers with offices in most major centers of the country and with strategic associations continentally and internationally.
C3 has the support of a large team of highly qualified and experienced professionals of diverse talents and considerable levels of management skills which we believe is the fundamental criteria for the successful delivery of every commission that they undertake.
At C3 we package real estate development opportunities throughout Africa through careful research, feasibility and viability and present to prospective investors for consideration
C3 commits itself to work in partnership with the right people from the outset to assess the scope of the project, address the risk, establish clear objectives and implement the strategy for achieving the defined objectives.
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