Building Africa’s New Cities
Rendeavour, helmed by New Zealand businessman Stephen Jennings, has taken on the challenge of building new urban landscapes across Africa. Jennings shared insights into the vast opportunities in Africa and his organization’s role with New Cities’ John Rossant in a Q&A for the New Cities Foundation.
Working across several geographies in Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana creates unique challenges. One of those, as Jennings points out, is the fact that even though they are developing, institutions still are weak by international standards.
“What we have found is that you need to build a local platform that is broad enough and engaged personally in the local community, to help you manage risks, because they will most certainly happen,” he said.
“You have to weather attacks, almost without blinking or compromising and in a way that ends up adding value to your asset. You have to go through that process.”
According to Jennings it is impossible to manage these risks remotely.
“You need to fully integrate into the local business community and regulatory environment and you need to be part of shaping it and managing it. You also need to have a reputation for executing and being prepared to fight your corner,” he said.
The cities developed by Rendeavour are satellite cities, but they are not islands, according to the New Zealander.
“We have learnt that it is much more sensible and cost-effective to work with the urban planners and the utility providers when building up our bulk infrastructure, for example. This is normally a win-win for the local community and for us. So in one sense they are satellite cities but in another sense they are an extension of the existing urban landscape.”
The first project to be completed will be Roma Park, which is Rendeavour’s smallest project (120 ha). Larger developments such as Tatu City in Kenya (1,000 ha) and Appolonia in Ghana (941 ha) are being built over a time frame of 20 years.
“Currently, we have residential developments and social amenities like schools and petrol stations under construction. On the industrial side, companies like Unilever and Kim-Fay are building manufacturing facilities.”
Stephen Jennings is a New Zealand businessman and a “pioneer of capital markets in Central & Eastern Europe and Africa, responsible for over $200 billion of investment into these regions.”
Article Source: New Cities Foundation, June 3, 2016
Image Source: Youtube