Update: Africa and International Real Estate

With 54 countries and nearly 1.4 billion people, Africa is a vast and diverse continent endowed with abundant natural resources and home to the world’s youngest population. But the continent’s long history of volatility and conflict, often linked to its Colonial past, plus recent battles against Covid-19, continue to pose hurdles.

Months after vaccines have been broadly administered in developed nations, vaccination rates remain below 10% in many African countries, including Egypt (7.8%), Kenya (4.5%), Ghana (2.7%), Nigeria (2.1%), and Tanzania (0.57%).

Despite recent setbacks, African countries remain confident about emerging stronger than ever. There are numerous compelling signs the future will be substantially brighter than the past. For example:

  • The African Development Bank has reported that 22% of Africa’s working-age population are starting businesses—the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world.1
  • According to FDI Intelligence, innovators are finding investment capital for technology start-ups across the continent led by South Africa and Kenya. Nigeria ranked #6 among African tech ecosystems but topped all locations for total start-ups, including many fintech developers.2
  • Even though Africa receives a disproportionately small percentage of global foreign direct investment (FDI), a recent survey of those invested in the continent found that 93% want to increase their exposure and more than 50% said their investments had performed as well or better than those in the developed world.3

Africa includes many of the poorest nations but also many of the fastest-growing economies. The five most prosperous African countries, based on

GDP, are:

Nigeria ($514.05 billion) is Africa’s biggest oil exporter and has the largest population on the continent (over 212 million).

Egypt ($394.28 billion) is home to nearly 105 million people. Its economy is expected to grow 5% in 2021-22, slightly below the government’s target of 5.4%.4

South Africa ($329.53 billion) recently announced that its economy is 11% larger than previous estimates after changing its method of calculating GDP.5

Algeria ($151.46 billion) is working on new investment laws and banking and financial reforms to improve its business climate and attract foreign investors.

Morocco ($124 billion) was recently ranked the second-best investment destination in Africa, behind Egypt, but ahead of South Africa, Kenya, and Rwanda.6

CIPS designees are encouraged to take a closer look at Africa when the new course, Africa and International Real Estate, releases in the first quarter of 2022.

Global Perspectives extends its thanks to Ahmed Badat, AHWD, CIPS, e-PRO®, based in Lisle, Illinois for his assistance in developing this content.

1 African Economic Outlook, 2017, African Development Bank Group.

2 African Tech Ecosystems of the Future, FDI Intelligence, April 21, 2021.

3 Africa Horizons: A Unique Guide to Real Estate Investment Opportunities 2021/2022 by Knight Frank.

4 Source: Reuters

5 Brookings Institution

6 Where to Invest in Africa 2021 by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).

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Global Perspectives in Real Estate is a resource for global professionals, aimed at helping them globalize their local markets. Produced bi-monthly, this newsletter serves as a how-to guide and is full of useful and actionable tips. A free subscription is given to all Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) designees.

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