Speakers at the Africa Property Investment Summit (API) stressed that African real estate has an opportunity to reset how it operates post the pandemic, and also amid economic global uncertainty. This can be achieved in a way which also protects the environment.
Speaking at the conference held in Melrose, Johannesburg, Vivien Naidoo, director for infrastructure in Africa, at Turner & Townsend said that the whole world had realised that big businesses were having a large effect on the climate, with the property industry being one of the biggest contributors to climate change, by industry.
Africa itself accounted for about a fifth of greenhouse emissions. As a result, African real estate groups needed to change how they operated as the industry moved to becoming a net zero industry in terms of carbon emissions.
This was as African property companies and entrepreneurs battled to raise capital from offshore sources, amid a global market that was uncertain. Investors were choosing to spend their capital in markets across continents. It made sense to at least operate as clean a property portfolio as possible when seeking funding.
Niyi Adeleye, head of Real Estate Finance for Africa Regions at Standard Bank stressed that developers which build using sustainable materials and which create buildings that match green standards, will be easier to finance.
Given a limited supply of dollars in Africa where it can be hard to create liquidity, African developers have to focus on being green from the get-go, Gerhard Zeelie, divisional executive: Property Finance Africa, Nedbank CIB said.