08 Jan 2017 - Côte d'Ivoire (Abidjan)
I am in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire looking at the industrial market. The industrial market here is strong and real estate market conditions can be described as buoyant and the outlook positive - I think and am hoping that the recent military unrest is a teething problem which might be expected in a country that is only two year post-troubles.
06 Dec 2016 - Cameroon (Niete)
I am currently around one hour's drive from Kribi in Cameroon, looking at another plantation. This is largely a social project and there are are around 25,000 people living on the estate including Baka people (formerly known as pygmies although this is now considered disrespectful).
The owner has a concession at a relatively low rent, but provides villages and employment for the population. This includes the provision of education, policing and medical treatment, so the plantation owner has built schools and a hospital. It pays for the running of these on a free or heavily subsidised basis for the people on the land.
15 Nov 2016 - Burundi (Bujumbura)
I am in Bujumbura in Burundi. It is an interesting market currently as the political and economic position has deteriorated, and the country has the unfortunate label of being this year's least happy country on the UN's World Happiness Index.
Because many expats and local wealthy people have left, the villa market is down and whereas it had previously been possible to pay up to USD 5,000 /month it is now difficult to pay more than USD 3,000 /month.
The flipside of this is that there is high demand for single person apartments and rents for the highest quality, for instance Kiriri Gardens, can be USD 2,000 /month. This is partly because an apartment block can be more easily secured, but also because ex-pats with families are generally no longer in this market.
25 Oct 2016 - Chad (N'djamena)
I flew from Lagos and am now in N'djamena, the capital of Chad. It is a landlocked country, and very hot. I am in a hotel on the River Chari with a nice view over to Cameroon, just to the other side.
There has been a great deal of hotel activity since I was last here. The Kempinski has been rebranded a Ledger, and the Hilton at Sabangali is now open. Construction of Hotel Grand also at Sabangali, which is rumoured to be a new Radisson Blu, appears to have stopped. However, it looks like the new Hotel Toumai in the Cite Commercial will shortly complete.
There seems to be a new supply of high quality hotel rooms which is completely disproportionate to the level of demand. All of the hotels I have visited have very few people in them and must be operating at very high levels of vacancy. Much of this hotel construction took place in anticipation of Chad hosting the African Union summit which they pulled out of last year as the economy flattened.