Alaro City, Nigeria

After the Asian boom, what next? Africa markets are poised to be the fastest growing and certainly the next big emerging real estate scene. The sentiments are reflected in the actions of the continent’s largest urban real estate developer, Rendeavour.

The company, which is backed by an assortment of international investors, controls a portfolio of land, of over 30,000 acres. Now, the company is building seven satellite cities in five countries across the West, East, Central and Southern Africa.

In a visionary streak of activity, the company is currently running big city projects in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with some of the projects like Roma Park nearing completion.

Rendeavour’s network of satellite cities include the 5,000-acre Tatu City in Kenya which is expected to house 150,000 residents, Roma Park which is a 296 acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Lusaka, Zambia, and in DRC Congo, the Kiswishi development, which is a 10,800 acre establishment near Lubumbashi.

The mega-developer also has four large-scale urban developments projects in Ghana and Nigeria. These include Ghana’s King City which is a 2,500 acre mixed-use development and Appolonia City which sits on 1,000 acres.

In Nigeria’s Lagos, 2,470 acres within the Lekki Free Zone (the largest free zone in West Africa) is dedicated to the development of Alaro City, and in Abuja, another urban expanse, the Jigna City is set to be developed on 1,870 acres of land.

The company cites the fact that, ‘Nigeria is one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, with an 80% population increase expected by 2025. Lagos, the country’s commercial capital and nerve centre, is predicted to be the world’s fourth most populous city by 2050.’

The projects, especially the large ones, are planned to be built in phases over a period of 20 years according to a NewCities interview with Rendeavour CEO Stephen Jennings. Such have been the urban exploits of Africa’s largest urban developer.

It’s easy to see why. First Africa has the largest, youngest and rapidly growing population. In estimate, the median age on the continent was 19.7 years in 2012, with expectations of reaching 25.4 by 2050 according to a PwC report. By by 2050, it is estimated 1 in 4 people will be Africans

Secondly, Africa is experiencing a period of rapid urbanization and population growth with 13 of the 20 fastest growing economies being in Africa. The third reason is the growing income levels of Africans, with a significant number gradually moving into the middle-income brackets.

The World Bank now classifies 27 of the 54 countries in Africa as either mid-or high-income countries, up from 15 in 2000 according to a PwC report. Improved regulatory frameworks affecting markets and policies has also made it possible for investors to develop greater attraction towards African markets, including real estate.

It is against this setting of economically momentous developments that Rendeavour, has taken its position to chart ways into the African future with a complete set of cities.

But Rendeavour is not alone, British private equity firm (Actis), real estate investment management and development firm RMB Westport Group of Mauritius, and US-based commercial property developers Novare Group among others have all placed their bets.

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