While the economic turbulence of the past few years has not passed Africa by, several countries are buoyed by dynamic developments, which create interesting opportunities for would-be investors.
This is a round-up of southern African cities that are currently attracting attention.
Leading the fray is South Africa’s third biggest city, Durban. The optimism sweeping the country in the wake of Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent appointment as president of the Republic bodes well for investors. Durban is better placed than other major cities to benefit due to the abundance of reasonably-priced vacant land. This, together with infrastructure like the Port of Durban (the largest in Africa), the Dube Trade Port, King Shaka International Airport and an extensive road network, makes for exciting opportunities, especially in commercial property investment hotspots like Springfield, Riverhorse Valley, Briardene, Morningside, Mount Edgecombe, Westville, Berea and Umhlanga.
Moving north, one should keep an eye on Harare. Zimbabwe is also emerging from a period of significant political change, and the positive impact on the economy has already had a ripple effect on the property sector. In Harare, this has manifested in an increase in demand for industrial, retail and commercial space and the CBD, Borrowdale and Avondale have been identified as likely growth spots, along with the new industrial area north of the city and decentralised, suburban office parks.
Namibia has established itself as one of the most robust emerging economies in the world. At the centre of this growth is Walvis Bay, widely regarded as the country’s industrial and logistical hub. This status positions the city’s commercial property sector for growth, with the areas around key infrastructure (like the city’s new container terminal and north port, the airport, the CBD and the Dunes Mall) expected to display solid performance.
While Nigeria ranks as Africa’s largest economy, performance of the city’s property sector is closely linked to that of the economy, which took a direct hit in recent years. That said, a full economic recovery is expected once the commodities market strengthens, and pundits predict that this will catalyse a property boom. Meanwhile, in Abuja, rapid population growth continues to drive strong demand for property, particularly in the residential sector. This has a knock on effect for office and retail space.
As Kenya’s trade hub, Mombasa is currently experiencing something of a growth spurt. This is matched by a flurry of infrastructure development, including the completion of a standard gauge railway between Nairobi and Mombasa, and the establishment of a Mombasa-Nairobi highway dualisation project, which will break ground this year. Both projects are expected to stimulate demand for retail and industrial property.
Daar Es Salaam is another destination worthy of consideration for property investors. The discovery of oil and gas has spurred the growth of Tanzania’s economy, with the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, in particular reflecting a positive trajectory. This, in turn, is driving demand for property in areas like the CBD, the Peninsula and the New Bagamoyo Road.
Marna van der Walt is the CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate.