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REGIONS MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA


Newcitiestochange Africantopography A


PRIVATE DEVELOPERS ARE WORKING WITH GOVERNMENTS TO TURN LAND INTO LIVEABLE URBAN AREAS. JASON MITCHELL REPORTS


frica has the world’s fastest urban growth rates; by 2050, its cities will be home to an


additional 950 million people, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Morethan 40,000 people in Africa are expected to move into its cities


every day for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, however, African megacities


such as Kinshasa, Cairo and Lagos are well known for poor planning and functioning, and are already unable to accommodate their exist- ing citizens in an orderly fashion, creating the urgent need for new cities to see the light. “Two-thirds of Africa’s cities are yet to be


built,” according to the London-based think tank International Growth Centre (IGC). The need for modern, as well as extensive urban infrastructure in a continent known for depleted government budgets and little access to international funding naturally creates a void that several private and land developers are already filling. “Africa has a fast-growing middle class and


many dynamic people would prefer to live in a well-planned and well-organised city,” says Yomi Ademola, Nigeria country head for pri- vate land and property developer Rendeavour.


Decongesting An estimated $100bn of public and private investments are planned in new city projects across the continent, according to IGC figures. Nigeria is leading the way, with five new city projects covering 25 million sq m. Nigeria’s biggest initiatives include Eko


Atlantic in Lagos (with a planned investment of up to $60bn), and Centenary City ($18.7bn) and Asokoro Island ($900m) in the capital, Abuja, according to the research company Estate Intel. “Most African cities have not built infra-


structure as quickly as their populations have grown. Our model is to decongest these crowded cities by situating our projects 20km to 30km away from city centres and building infrastructure that matches the needs of the people within and around the cities,” Mr Ademola says. “We put a great deal of emphasis on efficiency.” Rendeavour — whose biggest investors


include Stephen Jennings, the founder of Renaissance Capital, and Frank Mosier, the founder of Kazimir Partners, an emerging mar- kets investment firm—is developing seven new


90


cities across the continent: two in Nigeria (Alaro City and Jigna), another two in Ghana (Appolonia City and King City), and individual cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Kenya. Overall, they cover 120 mil- lion sqmin total. “The new cities are often in high economic


growth areas, close to new airports, new sea- ways and new highways, or located in special economic zones,” Mr Ademola says.


Governance Newcities are developed as private plots of land offering residential, industrial andcommercial infrastructure, and often regulated by special rules introducing incentives to investment, like in the case of Rendeavour’s Alaro City, which has been developed within the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos. As the developer of the masterplan,


Rendeavour is responsible for providing a city’s vital infrastructure so that individuals can build theirhomes andcompanies can construct and run their businesses. It also provides the infrastructure to specialist developers of schools and hospitals, and of residential, com- mercial, retail and industrial properties. It can also offer ‘build-to-suit’ lease agreements. “Our utilities are regulated. We have public


roads that cross through our land. So, our rela- tionship with policy-makers is focused on creat- ing policies that attractandenhanceinvestment, whetherthisbethroughaspecialeconomiczone or working with governments to upgrade exist- ing infrastructure,”MrAdemola says. “We do not believe completely private cities


could or should emerge, because it is impracti- cal to be an‘island’ separate fromthe surround- ing environment. New cities need to be inte- grated with their surroundings.”


Reclaiming land Eko Atlantic is one of the continent’s most ambitious privately developed projects, cover- ing an area of 10 million sq m — roughly the size ofManhattan’s skyscraper district—includ- ing 5.6 million sq m of reclaimed land off Victoria Island, the leading financial district of Lagos. The total envisaged built-up area could add up to 26 million sq m, involving a total investment of up to $60bn. However, the aver- age price of an apartment to purchase in pre- sale is $415,000, according to the portal Nigeria Property Centre — significantly outside of the budget of the average Nigerian, who earns $2200 a year.


www.fDiIntelligence.com December 2020/January 2021


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