Saturday, May 15, 2021

Report: Nigeria, others lead in office demand rebound

West Africa is set to lead a recovery in demand for African office space in 2021, Haussmann Africa Chief Operating Officer, Maxime Chauvelot, said. According to Africa report, the West African recovery, which includes Nigeria, is broadly based across sectors and includes banking and insurance, Chauvelot says.

Business has been picking up since September after having ground to a standstill and will “definitely” be better this year than in 2020. Haussmann Africa, which builds and designs commercial interiors, is tendering for “three or four” projects in Côte d’Ivoire for which it expects results by the end of February, says Chauvelot in Abidjan.

These include a tender for a Coca-Cola office of 700 square metres in Abidjan, as the US drinks giant moves to a smaller office. The Haussmann Africa is working on projects for clients like Woodside in Dakar, as well as Broll and AB InBEV in Lagos.

It is also tendering for a 3,000 square-meter office in Lagos for a US client. “All our indicators show that the demand for office fitout is there and is on the rise,” Chauvelot says. Kenya and South Africa, by contrast, are still struggling to deal with Covid- 19, which is holding back recovery of their office markets, he adds. Haussmann, which was set up in 2013 and operates in nine African countries, remains bullish on the longterm outlook for African office space.

The current period will come to be seen as a “small hiccough” in a trajectory of growth, he says. “New office builds will go down a bit, but not as much as in Europe.” Yet many key projects are still for multinational rather than African companies. About 70 per cent of the company’s existing portfolio is made up of global names and only about 30 per cent African companies. “The recovery of African economies will be intricately linked to foreign investment,” Chauvelot says. In the medium term, he expects that the African Continental Free Trade Area (Af- CFTA) will help by encouraging the development of more companies that will operate in African countries other than their own.

Complete the form and download, for free, the highlights from The Africa Report’s Exclusive Ranking of Africa’s top 200 banks from last year. Get your free PDF by completing the following form The Covid-19 pandemic has redefined the way companies think about the workplace, says Chauvelot.


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