Surveying around the world: Sub-Saharan Africa

In this week’s surveying around the world feature, we explore Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa has been identified as a market of huge potential by RICS, with President Louise Brooke-Smith making it a focus for her presidential term. This month, Louise spoke to CNBC Africa about the opportunities in the region.

In November 2013, RICS agreed to widen operations to include the region, focusing initially on the key markets of Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. However, what are the opportunities that RICS has identified in this region?

Globe [square]The RICS Research team has released an overview of the built environment, and related professions, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unleashing Sub-Saharan African Property Markets aimed to explore RICS opportunities in the region.  As a consequence of increasing urbanisation, rapid population growth and globalisation, there are risks and opportunities for the built environment sector. It needs to possess the necessary skills and capacity to respond to opportunities.

Relatively strong economic growth prospects, alongside largely manageable country risk profiles, make Sub-Saharan Africa’s emerging markets investment hotspots. Rapid urbanisation is also occurring which is creating demand for residential and commercial property in urban centres. This will result in heightened demand for professionals in the construction and management of private and public sector buildings.

However, investment in Africa is held back by weak infrastructure and a poor business environment. There is also a lack of available and reliable data which has resulted in the perception that African property markets are high risk. Transparency and reliability of data will need to be improved to encourage foreign investment.

Built environment professions are rapidly developing across the region, and global benchmarking will help to improve investor confidence. It is important to build professional skills capacity to close the skill gaps. The research found that there is significant potential for building professional skills capacity by working collaboratively across Sub-Saharan Africa.

RICS recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ghana Institute of Surveyors outlining our commitment to working together in promoting the profession.

Do you have any experience of working in the region? Share your stories with us.

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