Property in Africa
African cities making multi-purpose property gains
Some of the strongest economic growth currently being seen in the world, is taking place on the African continent. The International Monetary Fund lists nine of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies as being in Africa: Ghana (8.8%), South Sudan (8.8%), Rwanda (7.8%), Ethiopia (7.7%), Côte d’Ivoire (7.5%), Senegal (6.9%), Djibouti (6.7%), Benin (6.5%) and neighbouring Niger (6.5%).
By far two of the smallest countries on the continent, Rwanda and Djibouti have done really well to make it onto this list. Rwanda, in particular, ravaged by genocide less than three decades ago, is a remarkable economic success story. With no natural resources and a history of civil war, it turned to technology and knowledge sharing as its currency for building the future, and this has worked massively in its favour. Between 2001 and 2014, Rwanda had an annual growth rate of 9% and even now, it’s sitting at 7.8%.
Rwanda, considered part of the developing world, is outstripping many developed nations in areas such as smart city infrastructure. More than 95% of the country is covered by 4G/LTE networks, while public and private interests are collaborating to install fibre-optic broadband across the country. In today’s tech-saturated world, greater connectivity translates directly into greater opportunity and Kigali is now a hub for multinational tech companies in Africa, including Amazon, Facebook and Google. These are large employers and their workforces have to be accommodated somewhere, so this has brought good news for the commercial and residential property sectors.
Even the retail sector has benefited because new commercial office developments incorporate retail property, which serves multiple purposes, including greater convenience for tenants, broadening the appeal of the building from an investment perspective, diversifying rental opportunities and attracting people to the area… all of which feed into economic growth again.
The award-winning Kigali Heights development (pictured above) is a world-class office block that also incorporates a retail offering. Located in Kimihurura, one of the most highly developed areas of the capital, it’s a world-class office block geared towards satisfying the demands of blue-chip companies. It can accommodate either a single tenant, for example the local operations of a large multinational, or multiple smaller ones. It brings with it a number of firsts for the property market in the capital, including solar-powered lighting that eases the load on the national grid, and an on-site sewerage treatment plant. Green building solutions such as these, combined with the giant strides being taken in terms of the country’s technological advances, bodes well for the property market in this region, but also for the African property landscape as a whole.