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Past event summary

Africa’s Potential – Investments and Future Prospects Seminar

About the event


Infrastructure and logistics expenditures are rising significantly faster in Africa than in the world as a whole, and natural resources and favourable demographics lead to sustainable economic growth and prosperity, offering investors significant opportunities.

DMCC in collaboration with Knight Frank brought an exclusive seminar on “Africa’s Potential – Investments and Future Prospects”.

Topics include:

  • The effects of infrastructure on Africa land investment opportunities in key cities.
  • Retail in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Why Dubai has become a destination for business in Africa

Event details


The Ritz Carlton, JBR, Dubai


09:30 am – 11:00am, 05 Dec 2017

Registrations start at 9:00am

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Additional Information


0900 - 0930

Registration and networking

0930 - 0935

Welcome note by DMCC

0935 - 0940

Introduction Knight Frank – James Lewis
Introduction of speakers and panellists

0940 - 0955

Peter Welborn, Chairman, Knight Frank Africa
The effects of infrastructure on Africa land investment opportunities in key cities.

Highlighting the relationship between land values, investment opportunities and infrastructure investment – i.e. roads, power etc. – linking into investment in commercial real estate opportunities and investment.

0955 - 1010

Ben Woodhams, Managing Director, Knight Frank Kenya
Retail in sub Saharan Africa - focusing on the Nairobi Hotspot

1010 - 1025

François Conradie, Head of Research, NKC Oxford Economics
Africa: Commodities remain relevant, but look out for the consumer opportunity

Africa’s economies, overall, remain dependent on commodities, and there are still many lucrative investment and business opportunities in the minerals sector. This presentation will start by exploring some of the new and exciting opportunities currently coming on stream: liquefied natural gas in Mozambique and Tanzania, and offshore oil off the coast of Senegal. We will also look at political risk with a focus on resource nationalism and recent events of concern in Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa.

But the demographic boom under way in Africa means that the opportunities of the future are, increasingly, those that cater for the African consumer, most notably the urban middle class. In the second part of the presentation we will unpack the demographics behind this push, and underline the scale of the opportunity taking shape in Africa’s cities. The opportunity is particularly relevant for consumer goods and services companies. We will also mention the threats in this sector, and the reasons to be cautious in choosing a market for expansion.

1025 - 1035

Matthew Dadd, Knight Frank Partner – Commercial Agency

Why Dubai has become a destination for business in Africa

    • Dubai as a ‘Hub’
    • Transportation and connectivity
    • The key attributes of doing business
    • Legislation (law and ease of doing business)
    • A secure lifestyle (education, residential, healthcare etc)

1035 - 1055

Panel discussion

Moderator: Will Skidmore

    • Peter Welborn
    • Ben Woodhams
    • Matthew Dadd
    • FrançoisConradie

1055 - 1105

Q&A Audience


Peter Welborn
Peter has been Chairman of Knight Frank’s 13 Africa businesses since 2005, where the company employ over 700 people in 10 countries. Having lived and worked in Nigeria for over 10 years, Peter returns there 5 or 6 times a year on specific projects, in addition to working extensively in African countries where Knight Frank does not have offices.

His Africa team has worked in 34 countries in the last 27 months for clients including sovereign governments, global organisations and local affiliates.

Peter jointly heads up the Restructuring and Recoveries team in the UK advising a wide spectrum of both lenders and investors to the UK real estate market.

Peter is a very experienced global property adviser and asset manager with a demonstrable track record of working with large space users and owners of properties, together with their funding institutions.  He is experienced in complex problem solving and project management tasks involving multi‐disciplined inputs in challenging environments and emerging markets.

In the UK, Peter has been personally appointed by a large number of major UK and European lenders to the UK and European property sectors, as a Law of Property Act Receiver, covering a portfolio of well in excess of £3.5bn.

As a Member of the Chartered Securities Institute, Peter has led 8 successful equity raising and debt structuring new property fund projects in addition to both operating and closing those funds.


Ben Woodhams
Ben Woodhams is the Managing Director of Knight Frank Kenya and has over twenty years experience in real estate consultancy.  As Managing Director he is responsible for all the operations in the country, which include valuations, commercial and residential management and agency, project management, feasibility studies and general real estate consultancy work.  The Kenya operation has over 160 staff with over 5m sq. ft commercial space and 500 residential units under its management.  Prior to joining Knight Frank Kenya, Ben was General Manager of the Tanzanian office for four years, with a similar role.

In 1995, he joined Nelson Bakewell in their highly progressive Investment Agency department.  Here he was responsible for the purchasing and disposal of investment property for institutions and other large-scale real estate investors.  During this time he was selected for a secondment with GE Capital to assist with the setting up of their entire real estate portfolio, which they purchased from MEPC.

In 1992, he joined Rogers Chapman and as a Senior Surveyor was responsible for the management of an estate of over 450 commercial properties.


François Conradie
François Conradie is Head of Research at NKC Oxford Economics. He studied a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Stellenbosch, and holds an MPhil in Futures Studies from the same university. After teaching French and English in Cape Town for a year he began his career in marketing. In 2007 he moved to Tunisia where he worked as a stockbroker on the local market, and in 2008 he moved to Morocco to launch the international trading desk for Integra Bourse, a regional financial services company. He returned to South Africa in 2010 and started doing the political analysis for NKC in August 2011. Since becoming Head of Research in 2016, his work has focussed on macroeconomic dynamics in an environment of lower commodity prices.