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Pandemic & PropTech - Perspective from Africa (Part 1)

Those are the two buzzwords that you never thought would be part of your usual chat just a few months ago! This global pandemic has definitely made us to be introspective as individuals and to collectively look at ways that we’ll address the challenges faced in our homes, workspaces (even if you working remotely) and even our (restricted) social lives!

How will the new normal look like?

This question, among the countless others that are becoming evident daily, are not unique to me and you. The fact that the world is experiencing COVID-19 for the very first time requires new and collective ways of dealing with its effects head on. Thankfully, we are now part of a connected community around the world that can work together to find solutions. And in the process be able to also develop great innovations to improve our lives for the better!

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) claims that, in a short space of time, the so-called “medium-sized cities” of Asia and Africa will host almost all of the world's urban growth. When you think about that fact, this partnership is a perfect union.

The current African urban landscape

Urban share of Africa’s population has doubled from 19% to 39% over the last 50 years. By 2030 urban populations will increase by an additional 350 million people. At least six African cities will have more than ten million people: Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Luanda (Angola), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Johannesburg (South Africa). In a handful of years, the number of African people living in cities will rise from 500 million to 1 billion!

What have been the effects of COVID on Africa so far?

Initially, around late May there were mixed data coming through. According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control, the percentage of Africa’s population that had been tested for Covid-19 was 0,1%. This differed from the 2,3% achieved by higher-income countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Two approaches have emerged when it comes to Covid-19 numbers. The South Korean approach: find everyone who has ever caught or been exposed to Covid-19 and test them all. But this requires an amazing infrastructure and many countries have gone down a different route, testing a statistically significant sample of the population to get a sense of how the disease is moving. The pandemic has revealed the need for improved infrastructure to contribute to social development in the areas of health and education.

There were 200 000 Covid-19 cases across the African continent by mid-June. Just ten countries accounted for 75% of these cases, according to the World Health Organization. There are currently more than 550,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and control measures against the spread of the pandemic. The number of Covid-19 tests carried out per million people in Africa is 4,200, according to data analyzed by Reuters. This compares unfavourably with Asia, which stands at 7,650 tests per million.

How does this pandemic affect PropTech?

As part of my two-part series I’ll share in my next article the history of the PropTech scene on the African continent, dynamic deals that have happened thus far as well as some of the innovative solutions in reaction to the pandemic.


Madite Moalusi

Founder, SIH PropTech

My name is Madite and I represent a PropTech company called SIH PropTech. As a company we are very excited to be in a strategic partnership with Asia PropTech. Our company is from South Africa and the focus is on the PropTech scene across the African continent. We are connecting an ecosystem of entrepreneurs & investors, as well as government agencies, to opportunities in commercial, residential, industrial, and retail sectors. We tend to see ourselves as being Africa-focused & globally-relevant. After all, some of our team is based in both the US & Europe.


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