31 Oct 2018 - DRC (Goma)
I am in Goma which is the capital of North Kivu province in DRC, and right on the border with Rwanda. It is in a spectacular setting as it is on Lake Kivu, surrounded by mountains and with a large volcano just to the north of the city (Mount Nyiragongo).
The city is split into zones with Zone A being closest to the country border, moving westwards through Zones B-D. The main real estate drivers are 1) access to mains power and water and 2) security and routes for evacuation (the city was evacuated across the border to Gisenyi in the early 2000s when Mount Nyiragongo last erupted). Zone A is the best in terms of these criteria.
28 Sep 2018 - Liberia (Monrovia)
I am in Monrovia in Liberia looking at the housing market. I have been focusing on the areas of Sinkor and Mamba Point, although today I took a detour and went out to Bushrod Island to see the Freeport.
The real estate market has been severely knocked off course because of a combination of:
- UN peacekeeping force leaving the country
- Low iron-ore prices
- Oil companies retracting because of the high cost of extraction from the off-shore fields
- Liberia was the hardest hit country during the West Africa Ebola outbreak
There are also protests this week in Monrovia because a consignment of newly printed currency representing 5% of GDP has gone missing en route for delivery to the Central Bank.
14 Sep 2018 - Trinidad (Port of Spain)
I am in Port of Spain in Trinidad looking at the office market. I have come here on a plane that island hops, and by the time I get back to the UK I will have been in five Caribbean countries.
The major users of office space in Port of Spain comprise Government and the oil companies. BP is probably the largest single corporate user of offices with 150,000+ sq ft.
Government is now mostly located to the south of the city, and in particular in the new, high-rise development which has taken place on the waterfront around the Hyatt and Radisson hotels at Downtown Port.