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Africa’s largest and premier real estate event, the Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo, was held this year at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 September 2018.

       Thomas Reilly MD of Growthpoint Investec African Properties Management.

Running for its 9th consecutive year, the API Summit & Expo connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving a smarter future for African real estate through discussions into investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

According to keynote speaker Gaetan Siew, Chairperson for Port Louis Development Initiative & Special Envoy, UN-Habitat, Mauritius, the continent has already started to embrace innovation.

“We saw how Rwanda welcomed the first drone airport in the world, Google turned towards Ghana for its new AI headquarters, Mauritius has become the gateway for innovative financial services, Senegal and Burkina Faso are leading innovative agriculture, Kenya and South Africa are tapping into IT, and Botswana is showing us stability in a torn post-colonialism Africa. Innovation is already happening, and the Africa we dream of, the Africa built on hope may already be there,” he says.

“The next innovation will be driven from a state of survival. The world is witnessing an increasing decline of resources and, as born innovators, Africa will be better equipped to tap into this opportunity, and we will be better equipped to drive the true innovative era; one driven from survival instincts, and one built on humanity.”

While these new disruptions will continue to challenge and enhance the African real estate sector, the continent is also benefiting from renewed capital growth for African property.

“Growthpoint Investec African Properties (GIAP) raised a total of US$212m in March 2018, followed by GRIT that had a recent slightly smaller capital raise. However, despite this activity, the market remains in short supply of fresh capital, leading to the fact that the region largely remains a buyers’ market in favour of those investing,” says Thomas Riley, Managing Director, Growthpoint Investec African Properties.

Speaking to how to smarter asset management on the continent, Riley adds that there are opportunities in residential property, particularly low-cost housing, and commercial, more specifically logistics real estate.

“Both remain in short supply and present an exciting investment case. An opportunity to aggregate assets in the commercial space also continues to be exciting as a more plausible attraction for international capital with a higher degree of scale,” he says.

Transparency, another critical topic up for discussion at the summit, is an integral component of building more functional real estate markets for Africa’s future needs.

“It allows investors and corporate occupiers to make decisions with confidence and plays a key role as a facilitator of investment and business activity. It also supports governments and local communities by enhancing business efficiencies, raising living standards and safeguarding the environment,” says Jeremy Kelly, Director for Global Research, JLL South Africa.

“We have continued to see advances being made across many markets in SSA. Government efforts to improve land registry systems through digitisation, establish e-governance portals and publish more information have also contributed to increased transparency in several markets. However, transparency across the region is advancing at a more muted pace than in previous years and progress is still too slow in an environment where investors and businesses, as well as communities, are demanding much higher standards,” he says.

These topics are just a few of many under the spotlight at this year’s API Summit & Expo, which will see participation from over 600 delegates, 100 speakers and 300 companies in attendance, offering a programme aimed at providing a wide range of crucial insights, robust discussions and limitless networking opportunities.

Kfir Rusin, Managing Director for API Events, adds: “Innovation, access to capital and transparency are all vital in building a smarter future for African real estate. We look forward to two days of robust discussions and informative presentations at this year’s API Summit & Expo.”

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.