There is a boom in the property development sector in Ghana, especially when it comes to residential property. The boom has been ignited by surging demand for housing in the country because of population growth, as well as increased trade activity. Demand is great, but the problem you often run into is the need for funding.
The funding conundrum had confronted us in the past when we had to give up a large project because we couldn’t raise enough funds to see it through. It can be frustrating when you do all the design work, then fall at the last hurdle of funding. The government has done some public-private house building projects, but these aren’t big enough to meet our two million homes deficit.
Opportunities are abundant in housing. Reaping from the opportunities will first need us to find cheap ways to set houses. We must identify and make use of inexpensive building materials so that costs passed down to final clients remain low.
The government must chip in by ensuring we have adequate infrastructure. When a construction firm has to build up pathways and amenities themselves, those costs are reflected on the cost of the houses they build. The government must rise to the occasion to ensure costs are kept within reach of the people.
"One of the key areas for AFC going forward over the next five years is how to de-risk African infrastructure for institutional global capital. How are we able to make African investment attractive to global capital?
We do that by building a coalition of investors. We are looking at how to work with a coalition of investors from across the globe for African investment opportunities. We think it is improving."
Our role is to mobilise the private sector to support government initiatives. We take our cues from the continental plan through bodies like SADC and other development-oriented bodies. Ours is not to be a lobby group but to give governments a boost in their programmes, by that we mean financial resources, capacity, expertise and other aspects of development.
What we do is unpack these government-endorsed master plans and try identifying the areas within them that have business-specific interest. We help evaluate how the projects would support the growth of businesses or the projects that business believes can be successfully implemented.
Overall we see ourselves as development partners that help governments execute and drive projects forward with the only caveat being that we only work on stuff that business believes in.
Intra-African trade is currently less than 15%, and we are doing more with Europe than we are doing within ourselves.
If we remove those barriers, then we have a real opportunity of industrialising Africa. By 2050, Africa will still have the most investment opportunities in the world because we are rich in resources. A lot of our investments are in that area, and this is where we can leverage partnerships in Africa.