Saturday, April 14, 2007

Business opportunities in Africa 1

[Nairobi, Kenya]
ONE THING that's exciting about being in Africa is that you get a bird's eye view of the plethora of business opportunities that exists right now. It just boggles the mind. Anyhow, I was just reading an interesting article over at the International Herald Tribune, which is one of my favourite news site on the planet. This is probably due to the well-written, objective articles that are published over there.

Retirement homes in Africa?
Why the heck not? If you're into real estate or the health care industry, I would suggest you take a serious look at the lucrative field of retirement nursing homes. Take a peek at this:

Old age in Europe is not what it used to be. Traditionally, Spanish seniors like Feliz had few alternatives. They stayed with their family, or those who were utterly alone would check into hospital-like residences run by nuns. But now, adult children with demanding jobs are less inclined or able to care for parents, even in Mediterranean countries with tight-knit families. Seniors themselves are demanding more independence in the lengthening, post-retirement stage of life.

In Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark only 1 of 25 elderly people lives with their offspring, according to a 2006 report on long-term care by the European Commission and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Meanwhile, demographics are shifting: By 2050, people over 65 are forecast to make up one-third of the EU population, a jump from 16.5 percent today. As the old safety nets erode, European states are searching for formulas to reduce health care and retirement costs in the face of strong demand for services. {source}

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that labour, property (land, construction), and food costs are considerably less in Africa compared to expensive Europe. In addition, retirement homes over there (Spain too) aren't able to offer their customers scenic tours (to see exotic animals, landscapes, mountains, etc.) to some of the best tourist attractions on the planet. Right? In other words, this industry has huge upside potential. Any takers? :-) By the way, my mother works for Central Park Lodges in Ottawa, Canada. Incidentally, they have been aggressively buying out smaller retirement nursing homes over the past 10 years throughout Canada and the USA. She has been with Beacon Hill Lodge since the mid 1970s, but they became a buyout target around 2000 or so.

Happy investing!


Benin "Mwangi" said...

This is a nice twist on real estate investment and Max, I agree with you that the scenary coupled with low cost of land and improvements makes for a timely investment, not to metion the large number of nurses that may be found in different parts of the continent.

This is my first visit to your blog, I really like it too! Go Africa go!

Max The IT pro said...

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I really believe that the retirement home industry is perfect for Africa. Builders just have to make sure that these properties conform to international standards for the aged population, and that all precautions (wheel chair access, generators, in-house medical facilities, etc.) are accounted for lest they lose out on a potential gold mine.