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Casablanca’s stable real estate market attracts further investment says JLL

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Craig Plumb, Head of Research, JLL MENA

Market remains active with new projects announced in 2018 across the hospitality, retail and industrial sectors

CASABLANCA, Morocco — Performance across Casablanca’s real estate market remained relatively stable throughout 2018 with the announcement of new projects also enhancing investor sentiment across all sectors, outlines JLL’s 2018 Year in Review report.

Oxford Economics predicts Morocco’s real GDP will increase by 3.3% in 2019, owing to the expansion of the industrial sector, increased tourism and higher levels of capital spending. As a result, the hospitality and retail sectors continued to remain active in 2018 with new projects set to enter the market in 2019. There was also a notable 8.5% increase in tourist arrivals* in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT).

The hotel performance remained largely stable in 2018 with the sector now maturing due to the entry of new international operators. With increased spending in this sector, Casablanca aims to position itself as a leading destination for MICE and business tourism in the region which is also being supported by improved infrastructure.

“The government is  focused on improving tourism sites and the infrastructure of the city, and several rehabilitation projects are currently underway including the cable stayed bridge of Sidi Maarouf, the Grand Theatre and redevelopment of coastal sites. Casablanca’s hospitality sector will continue to witness positive sentiment with new international developments entering the market,” Craig Plumb, Head of Research, JLL MENA, added.

The retail sector  continues to transform in relation to evolving consumer preferences. Retail developers are now responding to the change in demand by offering integrated retail parks housing additional leisure and entertainment facilities. Performance across the retail sector remained stable over 2018, paving the way for increased mall-based retail space entering the market giving tenants a diversified choice in the future.

After its strong performance in the first half of 2018, Casablanca’s commercial real estate market was relatively subdued in the latter half of 2018. Overall, the average rents remained generally stable in prime locations over the last six months. The issuance of the 600 MAD bond by the commercial real estate company Aradei Capital and the success of the Imorente’s IPO earlier in the year, confirms investors’ confidence in this sector. With new real estate investment funds entering the economy, the commercial market is due to remain active in the future.

With the refurbishment of the infrastructure underway, Casablanca’s industrial sector continues to attract operators due to its well-established road network, port and air infrastructure. Average industrial rents have continued to remain stable, encouraging new investors and occupiers to enter the market.

The full report can be downloaded here.(http://bit.ly/2tOO75n)

JLL

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Flux Panda Brings Live Stream Shopping to MENA Region

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Flux Panda Founder, Alexander Rauser

In response to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Flux Panda was created to encourage businesses in the Middle East and North African region to utilize live streaming platforms to sell their products. The App combines the functionalities of an eCommerce website and live streaming app. Merchants upload the products they want to sell during the live stream, connect Flux Panda to multiple social media platforms with live streaming like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and their customers can buy the products by clicking the buy button and entering their payment details.

“Our goal is to make the selling and buying process on live streams much easier and enable any business to own the experience. While many small and large businesses are already selling live on social networks, our solution fixes some key problems such as order management, real-time inventory, and customization capabilities. You could say we are similar to a platform like Shopify, but focused on live commerce.” says Alexander Rauser, Founder and CEO of Flux Panda.

The App offers a flexible pricing model to cater to small businesses, eCommerce companies, and even large retail brands. Currently, the Flux Panda partner network covers South East Asia, Central America, Africa and the Middle East with further expansion plans in 2021.

According to research by Coresight, live selling generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and expectedly doubled in 2020 to $129 billion. Live selling has been popular in Asia for many years, even before the pandemic hit. The largest western fashion brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have already tried live stream eCommerce through China’s biggest marketplaces like Tmall and Little Red Book.

About Flux Panda

Flux Panda is a live selling solution established in 2020. It combines the functionalities of a multi-platform live streaming tool and an eCommerce website so viewers can view the details, add to cart, and pay for the items being demonstrated. It is the only solution where merchants can sign up and go live without any assistance or setup fees. It can be used by merchants with or without their own eCommerce site.

 

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aYo Uganda delivers value through pandemic

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Microinsurer aYo Uganda has underlined its commitment to the economic wellbeing of its customers in the country by paying out more than UGX 760 Million Shillings in 2020, through the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company offers Hospitalisation and Life Insurance Cover through its two insurance products, ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’. Commenting on the company’s performance, the CEO of aYo Uganda, Allan Lwanga, said consumer anxieties around Covid and its related economic challenges had heightened awareness of the need for protection and help in the event of either loss of life or hospitalisation.

“Despite the challenges brought about by the containment measures and an uncertain pathway of the pandemic including over three months of lockdown, the company was able to onboard up to 1 million new customers for the Recharge with Care product, and over 200 000 new customers for Send with Care products,” said Mr Lwanga.

Microinsurance is seen as a powerful enabler of financial inclusion in African markets, providing a much-needed social safety net that helps vulnerable people and particularly people with low incomes to stay afloat when the unexpected happens. This is particularly important in a developing country such as Uganda, where lower income households and informal traders have been hard-hit by the pandemic, as it has reduced their ability to generate an income.

aYo Uganda’s ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’ products cater for all MTN subscribers. aYo Recharge with Care offers life and hospital insurance cover every time customers recharge their MTN airtime. Subscribers can sign up by dialling *296# on their mobile phones, and use the same process for filing claims. Valid claims are paid directly to the claimant’s mobile money wallet without any hassle. With Send with Care, aYo provides up to triple the amounts that customers have sent via MTN Mobile Money over the previous four months. Life cover pays out to their family in the event of their passing, and hospital cover pays straight into their MTN Mobile Money account if they spend one night or more in hospital due to an accident or illness. When customers send money, they simply select aYo Send with Care when prompted*, or dial *165*1*4#.

 

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CEO Corner

African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO

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African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)

African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.

Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.

Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).

Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.

As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.

 

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