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

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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.

Pic­ture: SA TOURISM

WORLD SPOT­LIGHT: An aerial view of the mother city. Cape Town has been mak­ing waves glob­ally.

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