19 Mar 2017 - PNG (Port Moresby)

Charles Hector Whitmee

I am in Port Moresby, capital city of Papua New Guinea. With rolling, green hills offering views out across the Pacific Ocean, the city’s poor reputation certainly belies its natural beauty.

Despite restrictive land laws, there is significant development particularly in and around the CBD. The ambitious Paga Hill Estate, if completed to specification, would doubtless completely transform the city. With its proposed 6-star hotel, 800+ luxury residential apartments and docking facilities for cruise ships, the development would contribute substantially towards the administration's long-term goal of turning Port Moresby into a regional hub and “the jewel of the South Pacific."

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14 Mar 2017 - Ghana (Accra)

James Whitmee

I am in Accra in Ghana. I have taken a hotel a bit out of town along the Spintex Road, and I have hired a car as I wanted to cover a lot of ground.

I have been out to Tema which is where the port is located, and Ghana’s biggest industrial area. I have also visited some of the main shopping malls including Accra Mall and RMB Westport’s The Junction. I am also hoping to get out to the other side of Accra to see West Hills.

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16 Jan 2017 - Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

James Charnaud

I am in Addis Ababa looking to satisfy a corporate office requirement. The office market here remains a landlord’s market. This is mainly due to the fact that government policy focuses investment into leisure (hotels) and residential (apartments). So when you look at the skyline there is a significant amount of development going on but on closer inspection relatively few developments are new offices.

The main office areas are in the centre around the CBD, where the government and banks are located, Kazanchis / Kirkos, where the UN has its main compound, and Bole where many businesses are located.

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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.

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06 Dec 2016 - Cameroon (Niete)

James Whitmee

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.

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15 Nov 2016 - Burundi (Bujumbura)

James Whitmee

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.

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25 Oct 2016 - Chad (N'djamena)

James Whitmee

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.

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10 Dec 2016 - Nigeria (Lagos)

James Whitmee

I have flown from Douala to Lagos which is a short hop, being just over one hour.

Yesterday we signed a major deal in Lagos acting on behalf of a well known international corporate, purchasing a floor and a half in a new Grade A office building. We have been working on this project for around two years and did all of the initial location study work, search and acquisition.

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03 Dec 2016 - Côte d'Ivoire (Dabou)

James Whitmee

Today I have been out at Dabou which is the first provincial town that you come to when driving out of Abidjan towards San Pedro - first traffic lights and retail banks I have seen since Yopougon.

The countryside is lush, and interspersed with "cities" of affordable housing. A building plot out here of 600 sq m costs from XOF 2 million up to XOF 5 million (EUR 3,050-7,600), depending on proximity to the main road and services. Raw agricultural land is around XOF 500,000 /hectare (EUR 760 /hectare).

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10 Nov 2016 - Egypt (Cairo)

Michael Lowes

I am currently in Egypt where we are undertaking a property search for an international client.

The big issue here at the moment is the floating of the local currency which took place on 3rd November.  The local currency was previously trading on the black market at rates far above the official rate of USD 1 = EGP 8.88.  It is now trading in the region of USD 1 = EGP 16.

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08 Dec 2016 - Cameroon (Yaounde)

James Whitmee

I have travelled by road from Kribi to the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde. It takes around five hours and the roads are not as good here as in Cote d'Ivoire - mainly single lane and with a lot of trucks, most of the slower ones carrying enormous hardwood trees for export.

Yaounde is at a much higher altitude than Douala and is cooler, being built over a series of hills. I was due to stay in the Mont Febe, but when I arrived I did not have a room, so I stayed is an apartment-hotel in Bastos.

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29 Nov 2016 - Côte d'Ivoire (Songon)

James Whitmee

I am in West Africa with a couple of colleagues, valuing some major rubber plantations and factories. One of the plantations is 2,500 square kilometres which will be the largest piece of property I have ever valued!

Currently I am in Songon just outside of Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire. There are around one thousand people employed on this plantation, and the process for taping the trees is exactly as I was taught in geography at school. The trees are scored with a knife, and the latex drips into a small bucket.

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30 Oct 2016 - Côte d'Ivoire (Abidjan)

James Whitmee

Flying into Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire is now a different sort of experience than in the past. The new system of visa on arrival works very well and I got through immigration very quickly. There is now free Wi-Fi, and the refurbished terminal has sub-Saharan Africa’s second Burger King (outside of South Africa) with the first one also opening in this city earlier this year in CFAO/Carrefour’s PlaYce Marcory. As you leave the Airport you pass the new landmark Radisson Blu:

https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-abidjan

The place is really buzzing and the hotels are practically all full. I was unable to get into one of the two Ibis’, and when I finally did I had to move from one to the other due to lack of room availability. As mentioned, the Radisson Blu has just opened and it looks like the high-rise Azalai on VGE in Marcory will shortly open. Downtown in Plateau, the development of the SeeN and Naam hotels are progressing quickly.

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