Africa Property Investment Summit Eyes Billions in Investment Revenue for Continent’s Real Estate Sector

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The Africa Property Investment (API) Summit, a high profile annual event, is eyeing billions in investment revenue for the continent’s real estate sector.

As Central and Eastern Europe become increasingly popular for South Africa’s property sector due to subdued growth potential and earnings locally, these funds should be invested closer to home, Kfir Rusin, the host of the Summit has said.

The affair has been touted as the most significant annual gathering of capital investors in Africa’s real estate industry.

It is the 10th annual edition of the event and will be taking place on October 2nd and 3rd in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“In the first two quarters of 2019, we’ve tracked ten significant transactions in excess of more than a half a billion dollars across multiple jurisdictions and sectors by API Summit stakeholders,” said Rusin.

The growth and opportunity displayed by a diverse spread of International funds, DFIs, Banks, PE firms, institutional investors and others is evidence that despite apparent indifference to African opportunities in SA boardrooms, the continent’s real estate sector has evolved, and become increasingly more liquid and provides value in key nodes and sectors.

Some of the most high-profile deals include well known listed funds and global investors including Growthpoint Investec African Properties Investment Fund (GIAPF); Grit Real Estate Income Group; WeWork, Centum Real Estate, Nedbank; Standard Bank, the IFC and the UK’s CDC.

For investors and developers looking for data and partners experienced in African development or looking to sell prime assets, these are the men and women responsible for structuring and executing these mega deals who will be at this year’s conference, confirmed Rusin.

These include GIAPF’s Managing Director Thomas Reilly; Grit’s CEO Bronwyn Corbett; multiple senior investment officers from the IFC; Standard Bank’s Head of Africa real estate, Niyi Adeleye, the CDC’s Illaria Benucci, Centum’s RE MD Samuel Kariuki and many more in attendance.

“The market has moved forward in the past six months, and we’re thrilled that so many major dealmakers will be at the API Summit to transact and share their experiences with our delegates,” he said.

According to noted real estate analyst Craig Smith of Anchor Stockbrokers, Africa’s top markets are “definitely a more attractive entry point than 18-24 months ago” but cautions that investors still need to exercise a “higher level of diligence” when investing.

And while deal many South African funds continue to look at Central and Eastern Europe for scale (sizeable transactions) and positive funding spreads, says Smith, the transaction spread by API Summit’s investors point to a market that is expanding, which is in line with his view that the “the opportunity set over the long term is immense.”

Some of the top African real estate deals in 2019 include: Growthpoint Investec African Property Fund, which plans to acquire malls in Ghana and Zambia; Centum RE & Nedbank’s Debt Deal for their Kenya-based Two Rivers development project valued at $75 million; and Actis & Shapoorji launch of an affordable housing Joint Venture in Kenya valued at $120 million among many others.

Regarded among local and international decision-makers as Africa’s Property gathering, the API Summit is recognized as a platform for investing but is also vital in developing deeper layers of transparency for investors looking to meet and understand the continent’s divergent and complex markets to avoid previous mistakes committed by SA developers.

“Africa’s markets are still relatively opaque, and it is vital that these markets continue with their efforts to improve transparency,” Smith explained.

“The experience of GIAPF is crucial in my view as this will provide evidence of performance to the SA market,” he concluded.

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