by A Moore
Ghana is Africa’s fastest growing economy and has developed a remarkable degree of stability. The West African nation’s growth rate exceed 10 percent in 2012, and it’s projected to remain relatively high for the next few years. The government of Ghana has been demonstrating a commitment to investing proceeds into the country’s social and physical infrastructure, increasing the overall livability in the nation.
Ghana’s capital city, Accra, is a sophisticated urban area, with a full range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and increasingly, shopping malls. There are many affluent areas, including East Legon—the location of the city’s only traditional shopping complex, Accra Mall.
Another popular option is Osu, locally referred to as “Oxford Street,” where many go to shop and hang out. The downtown area has seen much development over the last decade and the range of serviced high-rise apartments makes it an easy location to set up home quickly.
In addition to being a wonderful urban home for roughly 20 percent of Ghana’s 20 million total population, Accra has become the leisure destination of choice for affluent Nigerians, who take a quick 45-minute flight to spend time at their Accra weekend homes. The warmth of the Ghanaian people is an asset and is an important part of what draws visitors to return to spend leisure time here. The tropical climate is also a plus.
Kenya is well positioned for economic growth because of its geographic location, its innovative-aggressive population, and relatively good infrastructure and facilities.
Nairobi is fast becoming the African city of choice for multinational companies seeking a foothold for their African operations. The city possesses much of the sophistication of the large South African cities, but provides these offerings in a “kinder and gentler” way. While there are some tensions around election time, the government is generally considered stable.
Housing options include many comfortable suburban-style homes at affordable prices relative to other African cities, often with a reasonably sized land plots. Apartment compounds have also sprung up in recent years, many with the comforts of swimming pools and fitness centers. The technology industry offers much promise, and Internet connectivity is considered to be the best on the continent today.
South Africa is considered by many to be the best region to live in sub-Saharan Africa. The city of Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, let alone Africa, having won a number of prestigious international travel awards. It’s where most people in South Africa wish they lived. While the town has lovely summers (October–April), there is a winter season filled with much fog, rain and wind.
Cape Town, also known as “Mother City,” is the center of the insurance and now burgeoning digital sectors in SA. It’s also where you’ll find the advertising executives and creatives, with many retailers and fashion designers headquartered there.
Housing options vary, from Tuscan-styled homes (a trend seen across the country), funky “SoHo”-style downtown lofts, and gated urban estates. While crime rates remain high, security is generally considered to be less of a concern than in Johannesburg, and is evidenced through the conspicuous absence of the ubiquitous high walls and electric fences seen around houses in parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Like many 2010 World Cup host cities, Cape Town’s public transport infrastructure was given a makeover during the event, primarily through the MyCiTi rapid bus service. Routes are still limited though, so unless you’re willing to commute via railway or chance the minivan taxis, it still is the kind of city where it’s best to have your own car to get around.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
From the moment you step off the plane at O.R. Tambo International Airport, it becomes clear why Johannesburg is considered a world-class city. ORTIA rivals the best airports in developed worlds. It’s sleek, modern, expansive and offers a wealth of stores and restaurants, much like many parts of this economic capital of South Africa and the continent at large.
Since the late 1800s, thousands migrated to the city seeking employment at one of the many gold mines. The quarries have since dried up, but the influx of people continues today. They come from other parts of the country and from across the continent, to work and to make money. Johannesburg is also an attractive base for many African companies as it provides easier access to international opportunities.
In recent years there has been efforts to revive the neglected inner city. Money has been invested by the local government to clean the streets, and renovate the derelict buildings. It’s paid off, with the private sector now playing a role, too. New apartment blocks are filling up and plans are being made for a new mall. Malls though, are not hard to find. Apart from the larger Sandton City and Eastgate mall, virtually every suburb has one or two of their own. Though a concrete jungle in some parts, many visitors are surprised by how lush and green the city actually is. In fact, Johannesburg holds the title of the largest man-made forest in the world.
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Dar es Salaam is a rapidly growing city, from the new infrastructural projects to its population. With an annual population increase of over 3 percent each year, it’s Tanzania’s largest city, the third fastest-growing city in Africa – and one of the fastest in the world. It also has a large expatriate community.
Though no longer the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam and remains the country’s political and economic hub. There has been great investment in education here with an extensive programs to provide free primary schooling, efforts that were lauded by international bodies when enrollment rates reached over 90 percent.
The city is also home to the largest and oldest public university in Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam, which recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary and has seen a sharp increase in the number of registered students. It is also the location of the Institute of Technology (DIT), one of the leading institutions providing technical training in the region. There are plans to revamp the neglected railway transport network and large investments have been made over the past five years to improve the city’s roads, making travel more efficient.
Situated close to the equator, the city enjoys tropical conditions for most of the year. Though Dar es Salaam has its own magnificent beaches (including many exclusive resorts), the island of Zanzibar is just a short ferry ride away.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Belize is a land of few cars, abundant fresh food from the sea and the trees, and great natural beauty. From its secluded beaches to its steamy rain forests, Belize is a country of diverse natural beauty. It’s true that Belize is no longer the most affordable place to buy property, but this country has other benefits: economic stability, a stress-free lifestyle, and a cost of living that is good value when compared with the U.S. (or even other Caribbean destinations). It’s pretty easy to immigrate to Belize, since immigration policies are friendly, the locals speak English, and it takes about two hours to fly there from Florida.
Property prices vary greatly in Belize from one area to another. They generally are highest in Belize City, on Ambergris Caye, and in Placencia, and lowest in remote rural areas. In large tracts, raw land is available in Belize for under $100 an acre, but access may be poor and surveying costs may exceed the cost of the land itself. Home prices range from under $15,000 for a simple Belizean-style home in a small village to $500,000 or more for a luxury home on the beach in San Pedro. Ambergris Caye in Belize is remarkable for both the authentic island culture and the fully modern resorts that offer real-estate investments.
Tourism is booming and the government incentivizes investment in the country. If your investment benefits the community, then your business may be eligible for significant tax relief for up to 20 years. Belize has a top-flight offshore banking structure. It offers one of the few remaining secure and private locations where you can protect your wealth with confidence.
The archipelago that makes up The Bahamas is located broadly between Florida and Cuba, in the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 700 islands, only 29 are inhabited. Nature enthusiasts moving to The Bahamas will love their new home for the more than 2,000 coral reefs stretching from Florida’s southeast coast to the northwest of Hispaniola.
The developing nation has a stable economy, although heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences have led to solid GDP growth for many years. As with all other Caribbean islands, the Bahamas has no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, value-added tax (VAT), or wealth tax, which makes it a good place to start a business.
New Providence Island is home to the majority of the population and the location of the country’s capital, Nassau. The city is an incredibly important destination due to its location, and because it functions as the seat of the government and the center of commerce. Despite Nassau’s cosmopolitan character, the colonial flair of the olden days is still prevalent in the charming town.