Africa’s private real estate sector is still at its nascent stages. Research from real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield shows that Africa and South America account for no more than 5% percent of the trillions of dollars yearly invested in global real estate. However, the large institutional investors have been increasingly testing the waters in recent years. Some of the biggest private equity deals ever seen on the continent have been closed over the past few years. Following is a list of the top five:
- ACTIS Africa Real Estate Fund III
The institutional investor which has had operations in Africa since 2006, has invested a total of more than $1.3 billion in various African cities. The fund mainly invests in office, retail and industrial property. In 2012, ACTIS raised $278m for ARE2. However, the largest amount raised by the firm so far was $500m in 2016 for ARE3, surpassing its target of $400m. The proceeds of the funds will be invested in prime commercial real estate across the continent. ACTIS portfolio includes Garden City projects in Kenya, Accra Mall in Ghana and others across the continent.
- Novare Africa Property Fund II
The South African fund, a subsidiary of Novare Partners is dedicated to investments outside South Africa. The firm closed a deal for $350m in 2014 and reached its target by 2016. The funds were to be invested in commercial real estate in a portfolio of investments in Nigeria, Mozambique and Zambia, and is listed on the Mauritius Stock exchange. The funds projects include the 22,000sqm Novare Lekki mall in Lagos which cost of $83 million and is the largest mall in Lagos. The fund has also invested in Novare Gateway mall (Abuja), Novare Great North in Zambia and Novare Matola in Mozambique.
- RMB Westport Real Estate Development
The firm raised $250m fund is an equally shared joint venture between Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Westport Property Group in 2012. In 2016, RMB Westport closed a deal with international property group Grosvenor as part of the commitments for fund II and went on to close on the commitments for fund II at $275m in February 2017. The Mauritius base fund’s complete projects include Ikeja Mall in Nigeria, Stanbic Heights, Ghana and Accra Financial Centre among others.
- Momentum Africa Real Estate Fund
The UK-based fund, has interest in retail, office, and industrial properties in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia. In 2016, the firm in conjunction with Eris Property Group, allocated $308m for real estate investments in West Africa alone. The firm is targeting returns of 18% or more during its 8-year lifespan.
- Growthpoint Properties and Investec Asset Management
The GIAP fund recently announced it had secured capital commitments in excess of US$212 million from several large institutional and international investors, with Growthpoint committing US$50 million to the fund. The property and investment management company will seek to invest in income-producing commercial real estate assets in select cities across the African continent. The fund was first announced in 2015.
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