[Ventures Africa] — Mozambique gained independence in 1975 after 400 years of Portuguese rule, and was soon after torn apart by a civil war that raged until 1992. Since then, it has become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with Rand Merchant Bank predicting an average GDP growth of 7.8% a year up until 2016.
UK property group, Knight Frank, placed Maputo at the top of its list of the world’s most up-and-coming cities for business, fun and romance in its Wealth Report 2011. “Mozambique is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and Maputo is close to the best beaches on the Indian Ocean,” said the report. Maputo’s score beat Macau, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul and Taipei, ticking all the right boxes for beach-loving, risk-hungry investors.
The average expat rent back in 2011 was $3,000 a month, compared to $7,000 now. Many of the new arrivals are Portuguese, attracted by strong economic growth and a common language. Registrations at the Portuguese consulate in Maputo rose by 25% in 2012.
Mineral wealth is driving Mozambique’s promised prosperity and related property boom. The country is poised to become the world’s biggest coal exporter within the next decade, with the remote province of Tete thriving as minig companies move in. Expat mine officials are paying round $3,000 a month to rent a house there, and property developer CR Holdings is spending $50 million to build housing, a hotel and a shopping centre.
Gas fields off the northern coast could generate revenue of between $200 billion and $400 billion over the next 40 years, in a country where GDP stands at only $1,100 per capita. The discovery of gas fields near Pemba prompted the government to improve the area’s public infrastructure, including the roads and airport. That makes Pemba one of the best locations for investment, says Adrian Frey, Editor of The Mozambican Investor. The country’s growing middle class has created opportunities for investments in commercial development, such as shopping malls and housing, Frey adds, while Maputo still has a shortage of secure, gated residential estates.