How to unlock African property markets for South African stakeholders

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Despite Africa’s market and political challenges, local property developers, contractors and investors are still delivering projects successfully throughout the continent.

How South African companies manage to do this will be one of the topics in the spotlight at the 8th annual Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre this week (Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August 2017).

One of the core focus discussions will be on managing project delivery risk in Africa. While emerging African markets are filled with long-term growth and investment opportunities, conventional insurers and financiers remain hesitant about covering local property stakeholders wanting to do business in African markets.

Mandisi Nkuhlu, Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) Chief Operations Officer, believes the reliability of the income stream, on a project, is one of the most notable challenges property financiers and investors must deal with.

“In financing a property transaction, for instance a mall or office space, it is important to get a reliable anchor tenant who is willing and able to commit to a long-term lease. Whilst there is a strong market practice on the continent of paying large up-front lease payments, the reliability of the income stream over the debt repayment period and contractual lock-in arrangements remain crucial. The financing tends to be provided in hard currency, whereas the tenants may be generating local revenue streams, so the currency mismatch is one of the risks that have to be mitigated,” says Nkuhlu. 

As the African property landscape shifts and investors and developers increase their focus on delivering projects on time and within budget, Nkuhlu believes there is a growing need for proper planning around managing in-country and Africa specific risk.

“There are quite a few projects that struggle to reach construction completion on time and on schedule. Sorting out the construction risk is quite important. In this regard, choosing the right contractor with the relevant experience for the size and complexity of the project is critical. The contractual arrangements and risk allocation, such as penalties for delays or poor workmanship, needs to ensure that the construction company has sufficient incentives to perform and avoid the contractual breaches. Locking in key and sufficient tenants before financial close is another useful risk mitigation of the commercial risk,” he adds. 

Nkuhlu, Greg Pearson, Director of GRIT Mauritius, Zo Hlongwane, COO of G5 Properties and Nick Allan, Group Chief Executive Officer of Control Risks, South Africa will go deeper into this topic at the summit sharing an experts’ guide to successful development and risk mitigation in Africa.

For more information and to book to attend, visit www.APISummit.co.za

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Bontle Moeng is the Founder and Managing Director of BizNis Africa. Moeng has spent 16 years working in the digital and online media industry across Africa. She applied her trade at True Love magazine prior to discovering her passion for Investment news in key sectors across Africa. Moeng previously worked for ITWeb, Starfish Mobile Technologies, ITNewsAfrica, AVATAR Agency, eNitiate, Global Interface Consulting and Havas Johannesburg. Her primary focus is to provide solid and valuable content on investment opportunities for the ICT, Energy and Mining sectors across Africa. In addition, the online news publication assists global companies to expand their presence in Africa. Email: news@biznisafrica.co.za

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