Africa has become a hotspot for development over the past year, with investors flocking to the continent and companies vying to position themselves to benefit from the economic boom Africa is starting to experience. An imperative factor in economic development, however, is strong infrastructure, and 2012 has seen a number of important real estate and infrastructure projects and deals across the year. Below are Ventures Africa’s Top 5 Real Estate and Infrastructural Projects of 2012.
South Africa was this year awarded the majority role in the Square Kilometre Array project, which is to be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world, and will allow scientists to explore to an unprecedented extent how the first stars and galaxies were formed in the period after the Big Bang. The telescope will also be used to explore the possibility of life existing beyond Earth.
South Africa being awarded the main role in the construction and hosting of the project plays homage to the technical and academic ability of the country, and pushes South Africa in to the global spot light within the technical and scientific communities.
Eko Atlantic City
Nigeria’s epic $6 billion urban development project on the shores of the business capital, Lagos has been the site of significant progress this year. Not only has the “Great Wall of Lagos” – intended to protect the development from the flood-dangerous waves of the ocean – reached over 3 kilometres in length this year, but well over 300 million square metres of land reclamation has been completed, sometimes at a dredging rate of 10,000 square metres of sand a day.
Once completed, the project will boost Lagos’ economy, by providing 150,000 work positions and 250,000 permanent homes – and is expected to be the new financial hub of the whole of the West African region.
Zambia railway upgrade
The government of Africa’s biggest copper producing nation this year finally faced up to the extreme dilapidation of the country’s railway system, which hinders both the population and economic development in Zambia.
Taking a series of steps to change the fate of the country’s railway – including revoking the operation rights of Railway Systems of Zambia and New Limpopo Bridge Projects Investments Ltd.- President Michael Sata appointed a new CEO to state-owned Zambia Railways Ltd., with the new CEO Clive Chirwa immeditaly pledging a complete overhaul of the nation’s railways within the next three years.
The Oyster Bay area of Tanzania’s capital Dar-es-Salaam this year saw the Mara Capital Group commit to a $270 million investment, financing the construction of East Africa’s largest retail chain, along with numerous infrastructural developments in the area – acknowledging the important business role of one of the larger port cities on the African continent.
The investment will involve the Mara Capital Group finance the building of East Africa’s biggest shopping mall, two hotels, a conference centre and business park, a new hospital, police station and extensive residential properties for staff manning the newly constructed institutions.
Mozambique 2nd largest power plant
Finnish company Wartsila in December concluded a $180.5 million deal to construct a gas fuelled power plant in Mozambique – to be the country’s largest gas power plant to date, but also billed to be the second largest gas fuelled power plant on the African continent.
The Finnish company will not only build the power plant, but will also install a sub-plant and a gas pipeline, significantly improving the infrastructure of the natural-gas-rich country, and positioning Mozambique to benefit substantially from its natural resources.