Property Flash


The 10th annual East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit is taking place from May 17 to May 18 at The Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi. As a media partner, Property Flash is publishing a series of articles about commercial real estate in this growing region, and its exciting future. In this piece, we chat to Wayne Godwin, Head of East Africa and Hotels & Hospitality at JLL. Here we discuss how the East African recreational and business tourism sectors have fared post the Covid-19 pandemic. East Africa’s hospitality markets are a valued part of the region and its development.

Godwin will present at the EAPI Summit, which is a must-attend for real estate-professionals and experts. He will also moderate a panel which will delve into developments and projects in the East African and Indian Ocean region.

May 18 2023

It’s heartening to see how East Africa’s tourism sectors have recovered impressively after the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is highly evident given the opening of numerous hotels in Nairobi for example and the renewed activity in airport hubs in the region.

The Kenyan capital is a hub from which tourists can access an assortment of holiday destinations in the east African region including the Seychelles. Tourists fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. This is the flagship airport of the Kenya Airports Authority, with it boasting more than 40 passenger airlines and 25 cargo airlines. It’s the busiest airport in East Africa.

Wayne Godwin, Head of East Africa and Hotels & Hospitality at JLL explains that there is a warm sense of optimism in the region.

“The Nairobi market has recovered, with an initially sluggish improvement that was normal in the lead up to elections, but has since accelerated well,” says Godwin who has held key roles at JLL for eight years and is based in Kenya.

The industry’s performance has reached pre-Covid-19 levels. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) for the first three months of 2023 was 17% above the same period in 2019.

RevPAR is a performance measure used in the hospitality industry. It is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate. RevPAR is also calculated by dividing total room revenue by the total number of rooms available in the period being measured.  

JW Marriott Nairobi

“This is one of the highest in the region. The market is set to receive a number of new hotels that will put pressure on performance but also encourage tourism providers in it to improve their offerings and pull out all the stops to attract more visitors,” says Godwin.

Notable entries into the East African region are the JW Marriott Nairobi, MGallery by Sofitel Nairobi and the Enaki Town Hotel. 

Hotel ownership is also becoming more diverse; with more private equity companies buying stakes in or properties outright.

“There as been a lot of recent investment in the region, which of course includes Nairobi. The city has enjoyed new investment, with Actis and Westmont acquiring a City Lodge portfolio and Kasada acquiring what is now the Mercure Nairobi Upper Hill hotel.

Tourism will continue to thrive in East Africa with the help of the governments in the region.

“It’s clear that these countries have huge renewable energy plans. A population explosion is due in East Africa which will place strain upon existing networks. But the key here is that the public and private sectors have spotted a future problem early,” says Godwin.

JLL is helping varied businesses which are interested in investing in East Africa, helping with consulting and research.

“We consult to international occupiers and investors who can earn returns from the region and help to develop it further,” says Godwin.

Godwin explains that interest in East Africa is heating up.

“As a group, JLL believes in the long-term future of the region. The investment is strong and deep,” Godwin says.

Kenya’s success will assist the island paradises of Mauritius and Seychelles and other parts of the region.

As a varied economy and East Africa’s powerhouse, Kenya is the next frontier on the continent.

The strength of new student housing, corporate accommodation and hotel developments is undeniable. Further, the new logistics and warehousing projects in Kenya, including Nairobi Gate, are of a world class standard.

“Positive signs for the Kenyan economy pop up all the time. Just look at corporate offices. Corporates including global groups who want to enter Africa are now choosing Nairobi or Cape Town as their home. Clearly, Kenya’s finding itself in lauded company.

Finally, investors are also improving their capital structuring to protect their assets and guarantee regular returns.

“We are seeing the use of alternative finance sources such as green bonds, mezzanine finance, and asset backed mortgages

Godwin’s personal belief in East Africa is unwavering.

“By 2050, one in four people on the continent will be African. The continent has a compelling story when it comes to social impact which will drive the right development over the next five years,” says Godwin.

Why should people attend the EAPI summit?

“Relations between East African countries are improving and we could even have a common currency in East Africa soon. Things are only going to get better for our region. The EAPI is the right place where people can connect. Key issues will be brought to attention and spotlighted in the right forums,” says Godwin.

Paid for editorial for the East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit. The summit will take place on May 17 and May 18 2023 and is expected to attract more than 1000 visitors in-person and online. For more information and to download the agenda, please visit:

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