Cape Town gathers accolades
The decision to select SA’s mother city to host the 2012 Real Estate Federation’s world congress bodes well for the future of the property industry in this country, writes Anna-Marie Smith
THE decision to hold the International Real Estate Federation’s 63rd world congress in the mother city means it will be the first time this large-scale event will take place on African soil.
The federation, founded in France in 1945, was originally named the French National Federation of Property Managers Founding, which entertained visions of a federation representing the real estate profession on a global scale. In 1964 it was renamed the International Real Estate Federation, but retained the acronym FIABCI.
This global property umbrella organisation has chapters in 60 countries, consisting of more than 100 real-estate related associations. Bali will host this year’s congress in May, where the theme will be: save the world — green shoots for sustainable real estate. Topics will include ecoproperty, green tourism, nature’s limits and opportunities, and innovations in real estate.
The decision to hold the 2012 congress in the mother city was taken at a board meeting in Cape Town attended by 20 board members from around the world. The meeting coincided with a FIABCI trade mission to SA organised by the South African Property Owners’ Association, also a principal member of FIABCI.
Lisa Kurrass, FIABCI’s first woman president, said the 2012 congress would see up to 1 000 foreign delegates and a further 1 000 local delegates descending on Cape Town for the week-long deliberations, with many overseas participants expected to take postcongress tours around SA.
“We expect that many will also bring their families, as the world congress tends to be a family affair,” Kurrass said.
She said the event would present an ideal opportunity for the South African property market to showcase itself as a potential investment environment to the members.
FIABCI members are a collective representation of all real estate disciplines across all property types.
Nigerian-based Osita Okoli, Africa President of FIABCI, said there had been previous efforts for the FIABCI World Congress to be held in Africa since 2005.
“It is a dream come true and I must say, with the board members having had an opportunity to experience Cape Town first hand it made it much easier convincing them this time round.”
Okoli said Africa is the next major destination for real estate and staging the world congress here, particularly in the wake of the Soccer World Cup, will help to unlock the potential not only for real estate, but also for tourism.
Established as the original association of real-estate associations, FIABCI’s federation has now expanded membership categories to include major universities with real estate faculties, public-sector interests, multinational corporations, national companies, individuals, realestate professors and students.
FIABCI is also the global advocate for advancing human settlements and the driving force for environmentally sound, sustainable development.
During their four-day stay in Cape Town the FIABCI trade mission was hosted by, among others, the Rabie Property Group, developers of Century City.
Chairman John Rabie said the group was impressed by its Century City development, in particular the upmarket Waterstone Isles residential development and R750m Crystal Towers mixed-use development.
“If the level of inquiries for investment opportunities we have experienced from this group is indicative of what we can expect following the world congress, it bodes well for South African property generally.”
Cape Town’s most recent accolade is its designation as the world design capital, a biannual award by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.
Last year Cape Town received three international awards: second-best city in the world by US Travel and Leisure; world’s best entertainment/lifestyle destination by Luxury Travel Awards; and best tourism investor city of the year by A1 Tourism Investor Awards 2009.
WORLD SPOTLIGHT: An aerial view of the mother city. Cape Town has been making waves globally.