Posted by: Martin | April 20, 2010

Mon cousin m’appelle pour me demander de l’argent

Things are a bit on hold at the moment. I’m stuck abroad and can’t get home due to the Icelandic volcano preventing air travel in Europe. My local partner is in Senegal for another week, and can’t supervise the building site in Yopougon, which means that finishing the last interior details won’t be done for at least a week.

The only thing going on is that I have gotten a politician and a surveyor (feels like the right combination for doing business in the property sector in West Africa) to check out a piece of land in Cocody for a potential purchase. Updates will follow!

Also, I found a free excerpt from a 396€ report called the Cote d’Ivoire Infrastructure Report Q4 2009 made by Business Monitor International (BMI). Interesting bits:

BMI’s forecast for the value of the construction industry reflects the optimism about the country’s future.
We have revised up our forecasts for construction spending growth, and now expect real growth of
26.77% y-o-y in 2009. This will push construction’s share of GDP up a half percentage point, to 3.56%
this year. Industry value growth in the sector will slow however in 2010.

[…]

BMI puts Côte d’Ivoire at the bottom of its Africa rankings for business environment. The construction
sector has very low capital investment and modest government investment. The labour market makes it
tough to find workers, the banking sector makes it tough to find finance, and the shortage of electricity
makes it difficult to run new buildings efficiently.

The first paragraph is pretty in line with the growth on the supply side as described in the Construction post. Wonder why they expect it to go down in 2010 though.

The second paragraph outlines the conditions that are likely to be in place for a long time, hopefully with the exception of the electricity shortages. I think the labour issue is more of a problem for large complex infrastructure projects than for residential construction.

Construction is a capital intensive activity, and it is true that is true that it is difficult to find financing for small scale projects – and I would assume – for larger projects as well.  However, one way of seeing this is that those like me, who are able finance small scale projects with 100% equity and do not depend on banks, have a comparative advantage.

For Ivorians, even for those with good salaries working in Europe, I think it can often be difficult to make the necessary savings to buy or build a house, as there is this – not sure what to call it – culturally linked pressure/obligation to share one’s wealth with less fortunate family members.  For Ivorians with large families (which is the norm), in order to save some money they often need to take a very tough stance against their own folks back home. Whenever meeting Ivorians living in Europe this topic is discussed nearly very time, and it is possibly the only topic able to get more interest than football.

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Responses

  1. Quote: “The only thing going on is that I have gotten a politician and a surveyor (feels like the right combination for doing business in the property sector in West Africa) to check out a piece of land in Cocody for a potential purchase. Updates will follow!”

    Sounds like an absolute recipe for disaster, if you ask me !!


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