A Second Scramble for Africa


This article first appeared on Hubbis.com
African ultra high net worth (UNHW) rose by an impressive 6.9% from 2012 to 2013. The main reason for this rise in high net worth is the continent-wide resources boom, where resources like copper, cobalt and, most notably crude oil, are being exported at exponential rates. It is no coincidence that out of the seven African countries with most billionaires, six – Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia and Angola – have benefitted from the resource boom. The Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013 tells us that there are 14% of African billionaires who have made their fortunes in the oil and engineering industries. Moreover, out of South Africa’s billionaires, who account for 30% of the regions wealth, 22% are in the metals and mining industries.

Traditionally government officials and entrepreneurs have capitalised on these vast resources, based on a quick-buck strategy, importing infrastructure and scientific know-how from the rapidly expanding economies like China and India, as well as established ones like the US.  In Equatorial Guinea for an example: of the 10,000 people employed by the Equatoguinean oil industry, the majority are US citizens. This lack of local infrastructure has led to Nigeria despite being Africa’s biggest oil producer, exporting 40% of its oil to the US, Nigeria itself presently imports a staggering 85% of the oil it consumes because it lacks  basic infrastructure like oil refineries. Therefore, to continue growth, UNHW individuals in African countries should focus on long-term projects, like improving home-grown scientific and engineering knowledge in order to prolong this period of growth.

Africa’s rise is by no means a bad thing; the continent has become a major player, which is a necessity in what is now an interconnected, global market. However, if Africa’s new UHNW individuals wish to continue sustainable growth they will have to pursue strategies that benefit of the continent as a whole. Previously many African-born UHNW individuals have migrated elsewhere, to havens where they are confident that their wealth will be protected and grow in a sustainable manner. However, if opportunities are seized upon now and suitable investment made there is no reason why Africa can not sustain this boom for many years to come.

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Plant London’s Battersea Power Station developer plans to sell luxury apartments for as much as 30 million pounds each, anticipating buyers will pay a premium to own prominent pieces of the historic building.

Battersea Project Holding Co. bought the Battersea site for 400 million pounds last year after its previous owner was put into administration, a U.K. form of bankruptcy protection. They will begin by selling 250 apartments at 2,500 pounds a square foot in April. The estimated price of a penthouse, to be built in the second phase of construction, is 25 to 30 million pounds.

The Battersea plant is Europe’s largest brick building and built in the 1930s consists of four 350-foot-high smokestacks, it is an investment that comes with the opportunity to own a genuine piece of British history in a unique location. The development is part of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area south of the River Thames and across from the Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster boroughs. It’s the U.K. capital’s largest redevelopment area and includes a new U.S. embassy and an extension of the London Underground.

The developer’s Malaysian roots may help it reach Asian buyers who have been snapping up London new homes following property curbs in their home country. Two-thirds of new London homes sold before completion are being purchased by Southeast Asian buyers. Measures taken by Singapore and Hong Kong to cool their housing markets have prompted buyers to seek investments abroad.Luxury-home developers are planning to build more than 20,000 properties in London over the next decade. The Battersea development has about 6,000 registered customers and there’s no risk of oversupply of luxury apartments in the area. The project’s first phase was sold in excess of 1,000 pounds a square foot and the third phase is expected to come to market in September next year at 1,800 pounds a square foot.

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