By: Oluwafeyikemi Makinde
The lack of infrastructure investments in Africa specifically in growing metropolitan areas in west Africa such as Nigeria and Ghana has led to a unique phenomenon in the real estate market. This has allowed for developments that are mixed use and allow people who chose to be in these spaces to have access to the office space, housing and retail that they might need to enjoy the expanding middle class lifestyle that is becoming more accessible to them. The idea of live, work and play that is inherently associated with any mixed use development in the west and seen as relatively innovative, but this has become almost a necessity for up and coming real estate developers in Africa. The mixed use spaces are going to be able to help reduce traffic in highly congested cities and hopefully reduce the load on the already strained municipal and state infrastructure systems. Reducing the commute may help the African nations stay ahead and increase the efficiency of the work force.
The push for innovative real estate solutions is something that the current Lagos governor continues to push for even the affordable housing to be more mixed use so that the efficiency increase is captured across all income levels. In Ghana the One Airport Square area in Accra is becoming a flagship location for a mixed use facility in west Africa. The development includes a hotel, retail and residential. The increased developments means that private developers can move around the slow moving public infrastructure development, and many real estate professionals hope the upcoming WAPI summit would bring together investors and public officials to help coordinate on strategy for development in the regions.