The upcoming BotsReal Property & Infrastructure Forum slated for May 30, 2018 at Masa Square Hotel in Gaborone is expected to bring the country’s property market into sharp focus as it explores opportunities in the market through its theme, ‘The search for Growth’.
Hosted by API Events, the BotsReal Property & Infrastructure Forum will facilitate the platform for both private and public investors, developers and industry professionals to network, debate and examine issues and opportunities around the countries property & infrastructure sectors. “Viewed as a mature market by property investors and developers, the country presents an increasingly compelling investment case for those searching for stable long-term returns,”API Events’ Managing Director Kfir Rusin said.
“Botswana is tempting for real estate investors as it has a high percentage of listed property companies, Africa’s second most transparent property market, and its GDP is expected to grow by 4.5% this year.” Despite these credentials and the state’s track record in investing its mineral wealth into development and infrastructure projects, Botswana has been buffeted by strong economic headwinds of late, which resulted in a slowdown in development projects, which has forced market players to innovate.
As Sandy Kelly, MD of Prime Time Property Holdings Limited says, “One has to be innovative, and not follow the same-old approach, so we have started looking at brownfields developments and investments turning round failed or distressed properties.”
While, there has been a rush to develop in smaller towns outside of Gaborone, he advises caution. “Take Palapye, for instance where there is quite a bit of economic activity with the power stations, but, after years of under supply, there are now four new shopping malls either completed, or under construction, so a massive over supply with no or little chance of all being successful, only the best located and developed will survive.”
While apprehensive of the opportunities in Francistown and Selibe-Phikwe, he is cautiously optimistic about recently tendered Botswana Railways mixed use scheme in the former. Unlike its resource-heavy regional counterparts, Botswana’s upper Investment grade credit rating (the best in Africa), and political stability has enabled it to attract investment especially in its highly coveted real estate sector, which has been rated as one of the world’s most improved performing markets.
For API Events, as Africa’s preeminent provider of real estate insight, networking and deal making, the sector provides an opportunity for the educated investor searching for stable long-term growth. As Rusin explains, “Despite the sombre sentiment surrounding the industry over the last few years, the housing market has remains solid, and overall the real estate market has remained extremely resilient. We feel there is an exceptional amount of value to be extracted and created across the market both here and in neighbouring markets, as Prime Time has accomplished in Zambia.”
As Kelly explained, “Our view and approach is that there is always opportunity. If you can’t make it in tough times then you don’t deserve to survive. We have, however, sought tailwinds elsewhere, for example Zambia, but have had to endure the headwinds on the way. With two properties in Zambia, the Prime Time is leading the charge into new markets. Kelly’s approach is shared by Sethebe Manake, CEO of Vantage Holdings, who believes her company’s future lies outside of the country’s borders. “We want to be a Pan-African business,” she says, and for her to achieve these aspirations, she realised tech was the best solution. “I’ve been bitten by the tech bug, and our business model is rapidly moving towards tech.”
To accelerate her designs, Vantage has launched one mobile application in February this year and the second to be launched in May 2018 to coincide with the Botsreal Forum. To drive investment and set the agenda for its stakeholders, the BotsReal Forum’s strategic agenda is designed to unpack the local market with presentations by local and regional experts such as Kelly, Manake and other local experts.
“There is a strong mix of local and regional expertise, who have experience in every aspect of the market, and we know that together we will provide a roadmap to growth for the local sector,” added Rusin. To ensure delegates have a thorough understanding of the market in terms of the regional market, a key part of the conference will be to identify where in the cycle, the market currently is by providing historical context and drawing on parallels from similar markets. Having delivered sold out events throughout Africa, the value of providing a historical understanding of a particular market is invaluable the conference’s delegates.
In addition to this focal area, the one-day forum will unpack the retail sector; the current supply and demand imbalance in the office sector; warehousing and logistics, hospitality, building permits and town planning, moving beyond Botswana, and a look at the opportunities in the housing market. “Our mission at API Events is to drive real investment in Africa, and we’re very excited to leverage our experience and expertise in a market that is poised for a significant upturn, as we explore opportunities for our stakeholders under our theme ‘The Search For Growth’,” said Rusin.