The Pursuit of Progress in Africa

Broll’s inaugural webinar last week, themed Africa 2020: A New Vision, highlighted a common thread: that COVID-19 does not define the property market’s future, rather it shapes the direction and speed of progress in pursuing the African development agenda.

Malcolm Horne, Group CEO of the Broll Property Group, emphasised during the webinar that Africa needs to continue on its development path to ensure not just sustainability of businesses and investment, but also for the benefit of the people of Africa. “We need to think differently, collaborate more and deeper, and improve on all our liaisons and partnerships, public and private, so that we can explore solutions that are specific to Africa’s needs.

“In spite of COVID-19, and certainly not because of it, our business is driven to find long-term solutions to issues that the entire industry faces. What COVID-19 has done however, is accelerate the need to focus more on the implementation of solutions, and not just in terms of Broll’s own capabilities, but all other allied enterprises.”

Horne referred particularly to the manner in which brokerage deals are now being processed by the Broll Property Group, that being remotely and online. “This is the type of solution that underscores how we at Broll, consider taking our service lines to the market in a non-traditional manner,” said Horne.  And it’s been very successful. Deals have been closed, and Broll’s introduction of on-line auctions have been fruitful.

The revelation that Broll anticipated by being prepared, has manifested in the understanding that people are looking for a more in-depth property service, and “one that doesn’t simply relate to finding a singular service,” said Horne, “but those designed around holistic solutions”.

“Broll developers are focused on the strategies of the occupiers of space for example, and in understanding the impacts of how employees utilise space, and that all-important consideration of how the space can add, or detract, from value. There has been a big uptake in these types of solution-strategising drivers in the business, and not only from an occupiers’ perspective but also from investors who want to experience the optimisation of space cost-savings from hard and soft services.”

Risk obviously also comes into play. Broll’s Risk Solutions considers the management interventions needed to optimise an enterprise’s risk, be that in terms of employees, geographies and even product offerings.

As Horne pointed out: “Property services today are now defining themselves in new non-traditional areas. Look at the valuation and advisory business for example, where we are seeing the rise of expert skills, and responding to the need for advisory services in troubled times like these.

“So, on the one hand you have the traditional services that are really pulling together, and on the other we are seeing much more long-term solutioning available. This is what is going to expand the ambit of what a traditional property services company will be in the future.”

That future is going to be directed massively by Proptech. “It is after all, what binds us together,” said Horne. “Proptech may have developed across the continent in quite an alarming rate of late, yet there is no real homegrown platform upon which property stakeholders can plug into for African-specific real estate solutions …” Until now …

Horne announced that as very early adopters of technology – some two decades ago – its internal teams have been able to grow and test multi-faceted platforms for both service providers and users of space or investors of space. “We are now launching our commercial technology system to the market, and we believe this is the best time to do so”.

“There are three convergences that are in play that have made this possible: a tech-savvy generation, changing cultures, and a sustainable real estate sector. That spells opportunity for the industry,” said Horne.

“This is an exciting time for the market because together with like-minded stakeholders, we at Broll are pushing out the boundaries of what we knew as normal. The enthusiasm of our more than 600 participants in the inaugural webinar, who are ready to see beyond the impacts of COVID-19, is inspirational, and we urge others to join the conversation and be introduced to the thinking behind the new African real estate landscape.”

The next Broll Africa 2020: A New Vision webinar is scheduled for 15 July at 12:00 – 13:00. More details will be distributed and posted on the Broll Linked In page

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