Property Flash


September 26 2023

The African Property Investment (API) Summit, set to take place on 10th and 11th October 2023 at the Marriott Hotel in Melrose Arch, is destined to be a resounding success as the world-class event enters its 14th year.

The summit is the premium networking event for people working across the continent. This year’s event will include the seventh API Awards, the Africa Proptech Forum and the API Hospitality Forum.

The summit is so rich in content this year with the organising committee having spent months creating a programme which resonates with a variety of professionals from across Africa and beyond.

Nyi Adeleye, Standard Bank’s head of real estate finance for Africa regions, explains that there has never been a more opportune time for collaboration between entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals on the continent. So many countries are developing quickly and require sustained investment in real estate to meet young populations’ needs.

Adeleye says that while generally all types of real estate are experiencing growth, certain specialised assets are shining.

“The infrastructure is improving in those countries which are embracing investment. This is leading to a demand for warehouses and distribution centres which are used to make the movement of fast-moving consumer goods more efficient. Online shopping is also becoming a more popular way of buying products. Mobile phone penetration is making buying goods online easier,” says Adeleye.

Data centres are also popular. Groups which manage these centres are making impressive profits and are reliant on clever landlords who can build the spaces which can hold them and keep them secure.

The continent has also reaffirmed its position as an investment destination in a post-Covid-19 world.

“I think that professionals in real estate learned much from Covid-19. They understood where the strengths and weaknesses lay in the industry. This is how does the industry cater for pandemics and other crises. Buildings need spare water sources, back up electricity, quick emergency exits and ways of controlling airflow and cleaning the air. All of these are crisis response measures,” says Adeleye.

Craig Hean, Managing Director: Advisory and Transactions at CBRE Excellerate agrees.

“African real estate includes so many exciting markets which offer investment opportunities. As my group helps to find business for groups and to facilitate deals, we have becoming relatively agnostic to markets in Africa and are more interested in working in the right real estate areas,” he says.

Hean is moderating a panel at the API summit. The panel will discuss strategies for building and developing assets which cater to occupier and multinational demands to create high performing spaces.    

“Property is changing as people demand different uses from space. CBRE Excellerate has responded to trends which are emerging, prompting us to complete work which is valuable for our clients,” Hean says.

“The first trend is the growth of internet usage on the continent. Mobile phone penetration is a large driver in real estate investment in any country anywhere in the world. We recently release a report on how the growth of the net has led to Africa’s enviable data centres expansion,” he says.

Data centres are an impressive alternate asset class. The investment case is multifaceted with long leases, most of time triple-net and with low yields,” he says.

ESG is driving the second trend in African real estate investment. African landlords and their tenants want to be carbon zero soon and are using sustainability teams and services. They also want to understand how ESG affects jobs and how it can create jobs.

The third trend concerns how offshore developers are coming to Africa to look for African equity.

“The powder so the speak has dried up in Europe. Developers and investors now want equity shares in African projects. Interested parties include private equity funds and high net worth individuals,” says Hean.

Groups such as Improvon, a private logistics warehouse developer and service provider and Digistics, a private logistics group have been setting up roadshows in Africa.

The like of Maersk is also growing its third-person-logistics (3PL) presence as roads improve on the continent.

Fabio Nava, Director Advisory and Transactions, Africa CBRE Excellerate says capital is enjoying a “flight to quality”.

“It’s a functional asset class which can develop consistent returns right now. There really are pockets of brilliance. We see how Morocco’s healthy manufacturing sector attracts returns for example. Francophone markets are impressive. Right now, a place like Abidjan is more densely populated than Hong Kong is which is encouraging development. The Cape Verde and Indian Ocean Islands are also attracting capital to execute on deals involving tourism and service delivery for their citizens,” Nava says.

He will also feature at the API Summit, sharing insights on capital markets across the continent.       

Paid for editorial for Africa Property Investment (API) Events.

The API Summit will take place from 10 to 11 October 2023, in Melrose at the Marriott Hotel. For more information, visit

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