Multinationals are fast recognizing the opportunities in the East Africa region given strong growth indicators that see Ethiopia’s developing infrastructure, and investors whetting their appetites in Uganda and Tanzania due to growing economies and stable political environments. According to Kenneth Oigo, Associate Director of Profica East Africa, a leading property and construction solutions company that has been operating in Africa for over a decade, it is Kenya, however, that presents robust potential for investors, given its prime position in the region.
Profica has built up a strong track record in Kenya and Rwanda as well as fast-growing portfolios of work in Uganda and Tanzania. Oigo says, “The activity that we are seeing in Kenya suggests that it is the steppingstone to the rest of the region. Air France has resumed direct flights to Nairobi as of March 2018 after 18 years highlighting the growth of Kenya as an East African node. Various international airlines have set up transit in Kenya, and for some years now, large international agencies, such as the United Nations, have used Kenya as a hub from which they could reach conflict areas in the region.”
Oigo says that now that the East African region has stabilised there is huge development potential. “Multinationals are embedding themselves more firmly in Nairobi, given its infrastructure, thus enabling them to use Kenya as their head quarters from which to oversee their East African operations.”
Smaller multinationals such as global IT outfits, says Oigo, previously took a cautious approach when developing their presence in the area. They were less focused on injecting capital into developing local offices, and generally opted for serviced office spaces. Oigo suggests that these companies now recognise the need for a formal set up according to their particular specifications due to growth in the region and the need to better establish teams permanently in the region.
“At Profica, we have a number of multinational clients that are intent on developing their own niche spaces, and this is where, in particular, our turnkey Design & Build services are being utilised.”
Design & Build entails developing an existing space according to the client’s specific requirements, taking cognisance of their workplace functionality needs and developing an optimal, specific solution.
Oigo says that Profica has developed relationships with multinationals such as Booking.com: “Profica is currently continuing into a second phase of the company’s office expansion in Nairobi where we are appointed as the full turnkey Design & Build managers on the project, following completion of the first phase last year.”
Another successful project that has been recently completely is a superb office fit out for Google; a relationship previously established during the company’s South African office fit out, continued with two phases in Kampala, Uganda, and now completion of the third phase in Nairobi.
Oigo says, “Profica’s Design & Build capabilities have developed into a strongly coordinated service due to our ability to deliver through a streamlined, multidisciplinary and professional approach. This service diversification adds to our on-the-ground presence in the region and specialist project management capabilities that span multiple sectors such as healthcare, mixed-use development, commercial, logistics, industrial, retail and housing.”
Profica, long-committed to the East Africa region, is one of the sponsors of the East Africa Property Investment Summit (EAPI), which will be focusing this year on driving investment in the region. Oigo will be speaking at the event, which will be held on 24 and 25 April at the Radisson Blu in Nairobi.