Thoughts from
our leaders


Despite the challenging economic environment experienced over the last three years, there is still optimism in the East African property markets, which offer some exciting potential for patient investors, particularly in sectors such Light Industrial, Housing and Student Accommodation.

Absa has been actively funding across the various sub-sectors in real estate. To name a few, this includes offices in Tanzania, retail in Uganda and more specifically in Kenya where we have funded across retail, offices, warehousing and housing. We are looking to see more opportunities in Light Industrial, Housing and Student Accommodation.

The innovation that we have seen in the sector has a lot to do with how, from a funding perspective, we are showing up with a little bit more flexible funding propositions for our clients; likewise clients are thinking about their businesses from a much more innovative perspective. Innovation is coming through in how we are starting to adopt ESG principles; we are also seeing that debt-equity combination look differently and we are seeing debt funders responding by adjusting vanilla approaches and offering more bespoke solutions.

Through the period of the pandemic, real estate has not been a sector that sees cash flows go to zero; where we have seen disruptions, this has amplified innovation in terms of what the new product looks like. We are also starting to see the growth of newer sectors such as warehousing, which is driven by e-commerce propelled by consumer adjustments through the pandemic. You are also seeing new asset classes like data centres and we think this disruption has propelled investors to move capital towards these emerging sectors. There has been a lot discussion at the EAPI conference about how the pandemic has run the risk to take a housing crisis and morph it into a health crisis. From the conference, we think that there is amplified energy to take the right housing product to the market as well as discussions on what changes need to happen to get that product delivered at the right price point that is affordable for the off-take as well as profitable for the developer

Somaya Joshua – Head of Commercial PropertyFinance (Africa Regional Operations)