Ghana’s Booming Property Market

Bait for additional FDI

By: Mohammed Abu, Accra-ADM Ghana

With Ghana’s 2016 elections having ended generally peacefully, followed by peaceful transition to usher in a new administration which was greatly supported and applauded in Africa and beyond, the country has been able to retain her enviable position as not only the most peaceful one in Africa but more so, one of the most preferred investors destinations on the continent.

There is no gainsaying the fact that, the country once again stands to reap immense benefits from this further boost of her democratic credentials in Africa.

Real Estate/Property Development Market Potential
In 2012 a survey conducted by global property experts, Clifton Homes had revealed that Ghana offers the best Real Estate investment opportunity in West Africa. 52% of the professionals interviewed believed Ghana will offer the best financial returns in the region over the next 2-3 years.
The survey gathered the views of over 50 real estate professionals from across the globe including fund managers, property consultants, academics and financial analysts. The experts, from organizations such as Broll, JP Morgan, Pam Golding and the University of Lagos were questioned on the attractiveness of West African real estate as a viable investment opportunity.
The Ghanaian market was judged to be the most attractive real estate investment opportunity in West Africa, expected to deliver the highest level of profits over a short term (2-3 years) or long term (10 year) horizon.
With the 2012 GDP growth rate in Ghana expected to be amongst the highest in the world, the survey revealed broad consensus about the positive implications for real estate. 85% of experts interviewed expected real estate investments in Ghana to outperform the regional average over the next 5 years.
Property professionals from around the world held a positive view of Ghana’s political stability, with well over half of respondents saying political stability would not be of concern to them when considering investing in the country.

However, over 35% of interviewees expressed major concerns over the legal and administrative red tape involved in buying property in Ghana, as well as the transparency of these processes. As might be expected, these concerns were far stronger amongst experts from Europe and the USA than experts from other African states.
“There persists a perception that investing in property in Africa (not just Ghana), must be an arduous administrative process. In some cases this view is justified, but buying a new-build property can be a straightforward and low risk investment if the process is managed efficiently. This is true whether the buyer is a Ghanaian National or otherwise” says Ernest Hanson of Clifton Homes.

Results from the World Bank’s 2011 Ease of Doing Business Index suggest that these negative perceptions are largely unfounded. Ghana ranks 67th out of 183 countries in terms of providing a transparent and efficient environment for conducting business transactions. This places Ghana above all of its ECOWAS neighbours and all of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

It is therefore against this background that the relevance and importance of the second edition of the West Africa Property Investment Summit held in Accra in November last year, could be best appreciated

The much patronized and successful event ended with a call on private investors in the Ghana’s real estate and property development industry to forge a common front to enhance their effective engagement with the country’s government, policy makers and the legislature.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), under the Office of the President, Carl Nelson, made the exhortation when he was speaking as one of the Panelists on the closing day of the Summit during the main plenary session under the theme, “THE MISSEN LINK? GOING BEYOND PPP’S & BRINGING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR TOGETHER”.

Mr. Nelson made this call in his reaction to concerns raised by a co-panelist, Karim Jamil Ibrahim, Managing Director of Dream Reality Ghana, and other panelists over certain lapses encountered in some government institutions by investors that sometimes tend to thwart the smooth execution of project execution.

Mr. Nelson was of the view that to be able to effectively address the issue of projects falling victim to an array of technical delays, cost over runs among others, with the resultant erosion of economic rates of returns, private sector operatives would need a common mouth piece. This he contended would put them in a better position to effectively communicate their concerns or grievances to government and the relevant stakeholders in the public sector.

The event was organized by API Events, with the Broll Properties Group an award-winning and one of Africa’s leading property services firm serving the investor and occupier markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, as the proud Platinum sponsor.

Cushman & Wakefield was the proud Silver Sponsors, alongside other sponsors namely, Stanbic Bank, Profica, Goldkey, Rendeavour among others in partnership with the GIPC, GREPA, Shelter Afrique, GREDA, RICS to mention but a few.

WAPI 2016 was aimed at providing a much-needed platform for investors and real estate professionals with an opportunity to engage, network and share innovative property and investment solutions in tough times.

About 250 delegates out of which were 47 speakers who are also industry experts from the African continent, United States, the UK, EU among others attended the event. An exhibition that featured a number of the sponsors and partners of the event was held concurrently with the Summit.

The event was held against the background that, with global and regional capital continuing to flow into West African Real Estate, investors are starting to diversify their funds across the region and move away from the previous Nigeria and Ghana bias.

Break Away Sessions
To afford all the line-up speakers to the deal with the nagging issues, discussions were held in Panel and breakaway sessions

The exclusive breakaway sessions of the summit achieved exactly what it was intended for – the provision of an impeccable platform for delegates to further interact, promote debate, question, explore explain thoughts and ideas regarding the African opportunities, experiences and the myriad of challenges. Beyond that, it positioned tactfully in an intimate environment in order to get unsurpassed perspective from those privy to key information .discussing leaders drove the conversation to ensure that content is engaging and relevant.

The breakaways were held on interesting topics such as, ‘Ghana Housing Marketing & Selling in a Hostile Environment”, “The perfect Storm: Nigeria Uncovered”, “Bringing Solutions to West Africa’s Mortgage & Affordability Crisis”, “The devils in the Detail: Keys of Implementation & Project Delivery in West Africa” among others.

The featured speakers during the breakaway sessions included, Samuel Amagaybor, Executive Secretary of GREDA, Elvin Larkai, General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Marketing, Devtraco, JamilDawudo, Managing Director, among several others renowned ones.

Opening the event, BolajiEdu, CEO, Broll Property Group, Nigeria, in his welcome address touched on the current recession in Nigeria, and the prospects stemming out of it for Ghana and the Francophone countries led by Ivory Coast.

West Africa Project Showcase
Adding more meat to make the event soup taste much more better, the organizers on the first day, also offered developers the opportunity to showcase their iconic projects to potential investors at the event .
Hakeem Ogunniran, Managing Director of UPDC Nigeria made a short presentation on Festival Mall & Residences Project, Nigeria.

Joe Orji, Development Manager, Landmark Nigeria took his turn on Landmark Village project, Nigeria, followed byGregory Skeen, Development Director (Alternate),G5 Properties South Africa who did a presentation on Conseil De Lentente offices building complex development project a joint venture between G5 Properties(developer) and landowner,Conseil De Lententesitiuated in the heart of Plateau, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The last but not the least, was Holger Adam, Country Head, Rendeavour, Ghana, who took his turn on the iconic Appolonia City a 2,250 acres(941 ha)mix-use and mix-income urban development in the Greater Accra Metropolitan area. The project is being developed for residential properties, retail and other commercial centers –as well as schools, healthcare, and other social infrastructure.

Opening the event, on the first day of the Summit, BolajiEdu, CEO, Broll Property Group, Nigeria, in his welcome address touched on the current recession in Nigeria, and the prospects stemming out of it for Ghana and the Francophone countries led by Ivory Coast.

The Managing Director of Standard Bank Cote D’Ivoire, Herve Boyer on his part noted, that West Africa’s growing economies have resulted in an increased demand for quality developments across the real estate landscape.

He indicated that, the West African retail market has been revolutionized over the past ten years adding that, there has been considerable growth in the sector which has meant a significant change in the view of retail investment in the region. But recent economic challenges, Mr. Boyer noted have made it difficult for the sector to continue to flourish in the same way as previous years.

Mr.Boyer therefore urged stakeholders to consider investing in other countries like Cote D’Ivoire which is having economic boom for profit.

ADM News Round-Up/Delegates Impression,
To find out what the impressions of delegates were about the event, and whether their expectations for participating were met, the African Development magazine (ADM) spoke to a cross section of participants and their responses were positive across the board.

SherifSabry, CEO of the Cairo based Palm-Hills International, a leading property developer in the North Africa region, who said he was in Ghana to look for investment opportunities expressed great satisfaction about the quality of the event and lauded the networking opportunities that was provided by the organizers..

Carl Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) while lauding the event, reiterated his call for the investors (developers) to forge a common front and so as to enable them have a loud voice that would make government and the legislature in particular factor in their concerns when passing laws.

Dr.AyoIghodaro, Managing Director of Fish Valley Investment & Property Limited, Nigeria, on his part also commended the organisers for a good job done.

Benjamin Manu of Rics, applauded the speakers at the event for their excellence performance.
In a chat with Kifr Rusin, General Manager of API events, he noted with satisfaction that the response and participation was beyond expectations. This was against the background that, Ghana was in an election year and the timing of the event was quite close to the elections.This notwithstanding, about 250 delegates from Africa and abroad, he noted with satisfaction, were still able to participate..

On when and where the third edition of the summit is going to be held, Mr.Rusin disclosed that it is scheduled to take place on 22nd and 23rd November next year in Nigeria

The maiden edition of the Summit was held in Accra on 18 to 19, 2015