In November delegates from leading African countries will connect with developers and investors in Cape Town at the African Real Estate Summit to debate about future development plans of the major cities on the continent. Annemarie Roodbol takes a closer look


Kigali, Lusaka and Dar es Salaam, alongside other major African cities, are open for business and will be showcasing their future land and development plans at the African Real Estate Summit at the CTICC in Cape Town from 2 to 3 November 2016. The summit will assist African cities and Governments in securing new international investment for economic development based around commercial real estate and infrastructure projects that will contribute to Urban Development Plans (UPDs).

The Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG), Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, says the UCLG (the patron of the upcoming African Real Estate Summit—an international platform that will bring together the full spectrum of the continent’s real estate sector) passionately believes that Africa is a continent of opportunity.

“With improving economies, rising populations, rapid rates of urbanisation and burgeoning middle classes, some African cities are expected to grow between 70 and 100% in the next 15 years. It is our hope that the African Real Estate Summit can help African cities and local governments highlight the need for quality commercial and residential real estate that this growth creates. In turn this will generate the partnerships and investments from investor groups, developers and operators to deliver on this worthwhile opportunity,” Mbassi recently told the media.

In delivering his keynote address at the summit, Mbassi will address:

  • How African cities can develop to become sustainable, resilient and inclusive centres of economic growth.
  • What the African city of the future looks like.
  • How African companies can maximise benefit from the development of African cities.

The summit will provide an invaluable opportunity for investors, developers, landowners and the cities themselves to conduct business, sign contracts and develop the future cities of Africa. Alongside the Urban Development Plan City Showcase sessions, the two-day high-level conference will also offer private companies case studies and practical guidance on how to do business in new markets.

Leading African cities

The African Real Estate Summit, organised by Spintelligent, a leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events (based in the UK) has invited some of the top cities in Africa to showcase their UDPs in the form of models or presentations. This will allow for delegates and exhibitors to understand the future plans of developing cities and build business relationships with key city officials including: city managers, mayors, city council members, town planners, town clerks, district officials and city and finance directors among others.

The UCLG AFRICA is the umbrella organisation and the united voice and representative of local government in Africa. It is an institution that gathers 40 national associations of local governments from all regions of Africa as well as the 2 000 cities that have more than 100 000 inhabitants. Therefore UCLG AFRICA represents nearly 350 million Africans citizens.

In an exclusive interview with Service magazine, Fotoula Fatouros, Conference Director for African Real Estate Summit, says this summit of the holistic real estate sector will promote positive relations through African cities by sharing best practices with their neighbours and peers through the conference. “The conference will ask pertinent questions such as how will African cities accommodate houses, services and facilities for this rapid African urbanisation.”

The African Real Estate Summit’s partnership with the UCLGA, which represents and unites cities and local governments of Africa, aims to:

Promote decentralisation in Africa and African local governments as a distinct and autonomous sphere of government;
Contribute to the building of African unity through local government dynamism, aiming at transforming the ‘Africa of Nations’ into the ‘Africa of People’;

Support the setting-up and empowerment of national associations of local governments and of individual governments to deliver on their mandates and to engage into structured dialogues with central governments and others pertinent stakeholders; and
Promote exchange of experiences and best practices among African local governments and with local governments from other regions of the world, the flagship of such platforms of exchange being the Africities Summit organised on a triennial basis by UCLG AFRICA.

Looking at how the summit will impact economies and development in African cities, Fatouros says it will give cities an opportunity to present their city plans to an investor and developer audience. “Through the promotion of infrastructural development African cities can promote bettering the services they can offer their citizens. If cities can attract international inventors, direct foreign investment will have obvious benefits to their citizens in terms of service delivery and access.”

And how will the summit benefit South African municipalities in terms of skills, knowledge and competence? According to Fatouros this will be an opportunity for South African municipalities to learn what is going on in the rest of the continent.

“The conference will offer case studies and town plans from various African cities. Africa’s population of roughly 1.1 billion is expected to double by 2050. The summit will enable municipalities to learn how African cities and governments will secure new international investment for economic development based around commercial real estate and infrastructure projects contributing to Urban Development Plans.”

This is of vital importance as Africa’s cities are the fastest growing in the world, and by 2030 more than 50% of Africa’s population will live in cities.

According to Fatouros the summit will impact the emerging real estate developers, both in South African cities and cities throughout Africa, as it will bring together some of the top developers in Cape Town to talk about the common issues about getting projects out of the ground on time. Trouble shooting exercises and expert advice for emerging developers will contribute to making an impact on the lives of emerging developers.

Asked what the goal of the summit is in terms of development, and how it will boost the economies of South African cities and their working relations with cities outside the borders of South Africa, Fatouros refers to the example of the multi-million rand Voortekker Road Corridor Project (VRC) in Cape Town: “R350 million has been allocated for infrastructure projects in the Voortrekker Road Corridor in the 2016/17 financial year. This forms part of the City of Cape Town’s ongoing efforts to revitalise this substantial area. According to the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor, Johan van der Merwe, the aim is for strategic public spending to encourage further development and investment from the private sector.”

She says there are many opportunities for African cities and municipalities, especially South African municipalities attending the summit, as they will be able to learn best practice from successful and intelligent town planning.

“Intelligent town planning has a direct relationship to the well-being of its citizens, whether that be from access to transport and easy access to economic centres or the opportunities they provide. The availability of public spaces for leisure and recreation also has a direct impact on the interactivity of the space and how citizens use it. By 2050 56% of Africa will be urbanised. This will be the result of 400 million people in Africa migrating from rural areas to cities. Engaging localities in design is an integral part of urbanising Africa through a Pan African vision and implementation. It is imperative that African municipalities look at African Unbanisation though an African lense,” Fatouros concludes.

Showcasing African cities

Some of the development opportunities to be showcased are in Lusaka, Kigali and Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam.


Looking at the City of Lusaka’s vision of an ECHO Garden City to provide a world-class and competitive business and living environment by the year 2030, Lusaka will showcase the following urban developments and infrastructure projects:

  • Chibolya Urban Renewal;
  • Grade Separation Junction improvement;
  • Dual Central Business District Development; and
  • Industrial Parks Development.


The Rwandan capital of Kigali says its vision is to become ‘The Centre of Urban Excellence in Africa’ and will be showcasing:

  • Nyarugenge: The green financial hub and vibrant growth centre of Kigali;
  • Gasabo: The diverse employment hub and cultural heartland of Kigali; and
  • Kicukiro: The knowledge hub and green gateway of Kigali.

Dar es Salaam

Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, will be showcasing the Kigamboni New City Master Plan, including residential, commercial, trade and business, industrial, educational, and tourism facilities.

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