The inaugural JLL Africa Connects held in Johannesburg in April 2016 was attended by property professionals from Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa. During the sessions I was able to ascertain that Africa is a continent which has a multitude of countries with different laws, cultures and ways of doing business. Despite this, there are some key take-aways that can help you navigate the real estate world on this continent.
Four tried and tested traits to make your African real estate strategy work:
Africa is not a ‘cut and paste’ continent. What works in Ghana may not be feasible in Angola. Every market is in different stages of development with its own specific complexities, cultures and customs. A high level of local engagement is critical. Sound, resident real estate knowledge is essential. The proof is in the pudding and it is fascinating to see how deep in-country expertise has been getting the results. Real growth is being achieved across the countries, with an expanding client base benefiting from holistic service capabilities. It is very clear that local knowledge increases the chances of investment success.
The benefits of a global powerhouse partnering in the African property space are the big picture insight and an international network of resources. Clients developing their Africa real estate strategies will gain by integrating local knowledge with global real estate benchmarking. There are tangible strategic and professional advantages to leveraging an investment decision off the experience gained on a local and global front.
Recognising the different nuances in every African nation, it is highly beneficial to have access to one African hub from which to coordinate country-specific strategies, particularly for clients with multi-country investments. A centralised ‘Africa Desk’ ensures all clients, enquiries and offices across the continent are serviced from a central point. This promotes efficiencies of operation with a client-centric focus.
To get the best deal and the right outcome, you need to be close to your investment. It is unanimous that on-the-ground operating experience with the right infrastructure and teams across geographies is what is required to be successful. From leasing to investment sales, lease analysis to space planning, to valuations and project management, it is clear that the right professional partner is necessary to help assist, advise and implement property objectives in Africa.
For global companies looking to invest in African real estate, JLL provides comprehensive commercial property services across the continent.
Despite the reversal of macro-economic conditions across the continent, a palpable optimism remains. While the commodities slump may have hampered development in the short term, there is still real energy, excitement, experience and talent to grow wealth in property in Africa.