DEMAND for investment in African real estate is expected to reach a fever pitch in 2018, and beyond, as the continent’s markets turn to growth after years of trying trading conditions. Following a successful year in which it launched new conferences in challenging economic conditions, Africa’s leading provider of real estate development and investment conferences, API Events, will continue to set the agenda for the property industry as we enter what many property experts are calling the ‘second scramble for Africa’.

With macroeconomic indicators released by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in November 2017 pointing to a surge in real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth of five percent across 18 economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and the World Bank’s 2018 Economic Outlook predicting overall growth of 3.2%, demands for investment opportunities are increasing. If examined in further detail, it becomes apparent that Africa’s sleeping ‘lion economies’ are waking up with Ghana predicted to grow at 8.9%, Cote d’Ivoire seven percent and Senegal around seven plus percent.

Kenya and Mozambique are also predicted to grow substantially with the former completing its election cycle and the latter’s debt issues being resolved by the proactive leadership of its new president and the much-anticipated LNG Gas project now back online. In line with these growth trajectories, API Events’ leadership team aims to expand its distinctive portfolio of events for learning, discussion, and, most importantly, deal-making to these surging economies by delivering events focussed on each of their unique opportunities and challenges.

“In 2017, API Events provided valuable insight and actionable intelligence for our delegates and sponsors at our regional and national conferences, which were held in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. Our flagship continent-wide focussed API Summit in Johannesburg also continues to grow from strength to strength, and we look forward to an exciting and prosperous 2018 for the property industry,” Kfir Rusin, API Events’ managing director, said.

Established nine years ago, API Events’ summits are fundamentally important to the property industry. As Broll Property Group’s head of sub-Saharan operations Leonard Michau commented: “As a Platinum sponsor for API Events’ conferences in 2017 and 2018, Broll continues to demonstrate its commitment to these events and their value. As advisors and consultants to investors and occupiers looking to enter new markets in the region, we are proud to be aligned with these industry leading summits, which attract a high calibre of delegates and speakers. The 2017 events provided us with the opportunity to foster new relationships; be exposed to pertinent discussions at the highest level, and refresh our focus on the African continent for 2018.”

For Rusin, what differentiates API Events from its competitors is that it is an events company filled with property professionals who believe that real estate investment can provide solutions to some of the continent’s perennially vexing challenges of inequality, poor infrastructure and social stability. At its final event of 2017, the West African Property Investment, WAPI, Summit, the decision to relocate to Nigeria, the continent’s largest and arguably most complex economy, was met with approval by delegates and sponsors alike. Critical to its success was the impact of its theme: “Changing the West Africa Narrative”, which challenged speakers, panellists and delegates to unpack factors that will rekindle investment back into the region.

API Events’ focus on quality and technical content delivered by respected figures with global and African expertise within the industry continues to achieve results. This is evidenced by the annual increase in delegates and the calibre of sponsors and speakers investing resources into attending and delivering presentations on a wide variety of topics crucial to each national and regional market.

In 2018, providing value to sponsors and delegates needs will continue to be API Events’ focus, as it underscores the importance of real estate to economic growth and prosperity to African government stakeholders under the theme of ‘Making Real Estate Matter’. For Rusin, the increasing receptiveness of Africa’s policymakers to engage on topics such as unlocking pension fund capital; creating linkages between the public and private sectors and inter-country cooperation will ensure that its conferences will continue to provide the most valuable and actionable insights into Africa’s burgeoning real estate markets in 2018, and in the future.

By Marc Philips