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China's Growing Appetite for African Real Estate

Amid a prolonged economic downturn and a weakening yuan, Chinese investors have steadily turned their focus to buying overseas assets. While there are a number of complicated reasons behind the massive capital outflows over the past 18 months, the fact remains that both individual and corporate investors are looking abroad for growth opportunities and hedges against currency fluctuations at home. In 2015, an estimated 750 billion dollars of Chinese money left the country.

For individuals, foreign real estate is among the preferred investment options as Chinese families buy second homes in Australia, the United States and Europe. For some, these homes are purely for investment but for many other Chinese buying real estate allows them to secure residency, secure a base for their children’s education and as environmental conditions worsen in China, living abroad is increasingly seen as a desirable option.

In the past, Africa has not been a popular destination for Chinese real estate investors but there is new evidence to suggest that may no longer be the case. Dr Honita Cowaloosur of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town recently completed an in-depth research study on China’s growing appetite for property in South Africa and Mauritius.

Honita joins Eric & Cobus to discuss why Chinese investors are now choosing to invest in African real estate and why the continent is seen as an increasingly desirable investment destination.

Show Notes:

About Dr Honita Cowaloosur
honitaDr Honita Cowaloosur is currently a Phandulwazi Nge China scholar at the Centre of Chinese Studies. Her research interests include: Chinese investment presence across the numerous sectors of African economies, investment strategies and financial mechanisms deployed by foreign investors in Africa, African development, land acquisition, economic zones, and the economies of the small island states of the Indian Ocean. She has a PhD from the University of St Andrews, UK, and has won various scholarships in support of her innovative research. She holds Masters degrees in International Relations and in Politics from the London School of Economics, and the University of Iceland, respectively. She did her BA at the University of Durham, UK. She was previously a journalist and also worked at the Ministry of Finance, Mauritius, and at the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

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