Questions Batch 3

It’s been a while since last time, but I used to collect unanswered questions that have come up in past blogposts. Here is a new batch:

(1) This one is from drogbascountry:

Many people in the large middle class area of Cocody, as elsewhere, own homes that are worth a lot of money, and the roads are filled with large expensive saloon cars and 4×4. […] you often see finer cars than you see in Paris, clubs where champagne is drunk like orange juice and vast mansions in Cocody?

So where does the money come from?

I tried to answer in the comments, but I think there’s more to say on this one.

(2) In the post about Customs I found a graph of US government spending from 1870. One of the expenditure categories was “Indians”.  I have a feeling this spending didn’t do the Indians much good, probably quite the opposite, but what was it?

Silly Walks was only in the planning stage in 1870

(3) Why are there so few apartments for sale in Abidjan, and instead whole buildings are for sale?  Mentioned in the Abidjan Real Estate post.

(4) How is the GDP for the Ivory Coast put together?  What are the various components? / what assumptions are made? / how is the informal sector treated?    I have no idea, but I’d really like to know, and it should be possible to figure out.

(5) How would the Ivory Coast be affected by a break-up of the Eurozone?  This one might be impossible to know for sure, but it’s a good topic for speculations.

Questions batch II

The last batch of questions is still mostly unanswered, but in the last month’s posts there have been enough new questions for a new batch, so here it goes:

(1) Are there publicly traded securities that allows investors exposure to West African Real Estate? (As asked in the Fundamentals of the Property Market post )

I have looked around a while without even finding Mutual funds, ETFs or REITs aimed at African Real Estate.  Mutual funds and ETFs aimed at Africa seem to be dominated by South Africa and natural resources and not very niched. Looks like Africa is  enough of a niche in itself at the moment, but that’s likely to change in the future.

There are two real estate focused companies listed on Nigeria’s national stock exchange (UACN Property Development Co and Skye Shelter) but none of them have an ADR in New York which would make it easier to invest in them. On BRVM, the regional stock exchange for French-speaking West Africa, there doesn’t seem to be any real estate linked companies listed.

Looking outside Africa I found Chicago based private company Capri Capital llc which has a big stake in African Real Estate.  Capri’s CEO Quintin Primo was interviewed in CNBCs show “Dollar and Danger: Africa, the Final Investing Frontier” from 2009 which I’d recommend (both the interview and the show).

(2) What are the deposit sizes asked for various parts of Abidjan? Is there a clear link: wealthier area -> lower deposit?  (From the Deposits post )
It looks like it, but I’d like to have more data.

(3) How much new construction takes place in Abidjan, where, by whom and what’s its value?
As discussed in Fundamentals of the property market: Construction this question should be answerable. There’s got to be a few people at the United Nations/World Bank/IMF or at the Ivorian Ministry of Construction Urbanism and Habitat that have tried to compile numbers for the construction.

(4) How much does a taxi driver in a West African capital earn? (Portfolios of the Poor)
I recall one taxi driver saying that he aimed for 10,000 CFA Francs (15 €) each day. When he reached it he could drive home. I am not quite sure how accurate that number is as average daily turnover. Anyhow, then petrol needs to be deducted and depreciation if the driver is the owner, or a fee to the owner in case the driver is not the owner.  I can’t quite put a number to any of these deductions.

(5) Who are my tenants in the studio apartment sin Yopougon and will they pay the rent? (Construction Completed)

Unlike, it seems,  most other questions, this one should get a definite answer in the future.

Do we have an economist in the audience?

Ok, time for a run down of unanswered questions that have come up since I started the blog.  Here’s stuff I’d really like to know:

(1) Why is per day accomodation cheaper in relatively wealthier regions such as South East Asia than in West Africa/Ivory Coast?    My inconclusive thoughts about this are in the Daily Rental Mystery post.

(2) Building materials and tools used to construct houses in Abidjan – to what proportion are they locally produced in the Ivory Coast?  When I am in shops in Abidjan I always look at labels to see where things come from – which I believe gives some sort of indication on trade streams, eg is everything still being imported from France?.

(3) What impact would a devaluation of the CFA Franc have on rents and house prices (and demand and supply) in the various areas of Abidjan? I guess no one really knows until it happens, but it would be nice to have an educated guess.  Do we have an economist in the audience?

(4) Do people that rent at 30 EUR / month look for a place to live on the internet?  As asked in the Construction Underway post.

(5) Is there a behavioural bias against investing in less well off areas such as Yopougon, where the majority of Abidjan’s population lives, and can an external investor benefit from it?  My gut feeling is yes, and that an external investor can benefit with a trusted local partner, but I might be totally wrong. More on this in the No Grunge post.

(6) How do I identify people with very high integrity when looking for potential employees in the Ivory Coast?  This was raised in the Issue of Trust post.

(7) Who are my readers in Africa, and how did theymanage to find the (completely unSEOd) blog?  The blog recently got it’s first pageviews from Africa – hits from Benin and the Ivory Coast, and well, as a new blogger I’m curious about who is reading.  This is partially solved as I got feedback from the reader in the Ivory Coast – thanks a lot, made my day!