- Land is always a sound investment, and Africa is quickly becoming a booming market.
- Be aware of any restrictions to buying African land, and consider the reason for buying.
- There are numerous benefits and valid uses for your African land purchase.
- Each region, and each country, will have its own rules and regulations to follow.
If you’re considering purchasing land for use or for investment, African countries are a thriving market with great possibilities.
We’ll look at how foreign investors can buy Africa’s land, including what you should consider before making your investment, the benefits of buying African land, and where you can find the best options based on your needs or plans for your land purchase.
As always, consult with a local real estate agent and your own business advisors before making a substantial purchase to ensure that you are making a sound investment.
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How To Buy Land In Africa
Buying land in Africa is not always as simple as calling up a real estate agent, or searching for your choice of properties up for ownership (although many services and companies do make the process simpler in this way).
Variations in real estate law, regional instability, restrictions on land use, international relations, and a host of other factors will come into play.
Here are some important things you’ll need to think about if you are debating whether to invest in land ownership in this growing market.
The Importance of Buying Land
Land ownership is a big step, especially for prospective buyers looking to expand into foreign investment. Making the right investment not only makes good business sense now; it also sets you up for a solid financial future for yourself or your corporation.
Whatever your hopes are for how you want to use your land, the reasons for making the purchase decision itself are obvious and plentiful.
Land is a scarce investment, since it is ultimately limited in its supply. Even in countries that have wide areas available for purchase from either local or foreign buyers, eventually the number of available plots will run out.
Land is also a very secure investment. It will only grow in value, and the amount of that increase will depend on the amount of time that passes, the investments you make in the infrastructure and quality of the land, and its viability for continued use once you sell it.
Buying land in strategic ways is a way to make this kind of purchase a highly profitable venture. Getting into a growing market like Africa while prices are relatively low will pay massive dividends in the future when prices go up.
Additionally, African governments are seeing the benefit of selling portions of their land. Buying land for various kinds of development - or even for simple conservation for the wildlife or the environment - is a lucrative opportunity that more and more countries are taking advantage of.
Why to Buy Land
You could choose to buy land because you personally hope to move to Africa. There are a variety of reasons why people might want to move to an African nation, including agriculture, international relations, or humanitarian work.
You might also want to buy land in African countries as a business investment. Some companies may choose to cultivate agricultural land for crops or livestock, or they may choose to build factories. Additionally, those looking to diversify their portfolio may use the land for residential purposes, or for commercial real estate.
Whatever your motivation, you should be very clear on your reason for buying land in Africa.
Considerations Before Buying Land in Africa
The first thing to realize about buying land in Africa is that real estate laws and zoning regulations will vary wildly depending on where you are.
At this writing, there are 54 identified nations across the continent. This means 54 distinct variations on who can purchase land, what the land can be used for, how long you are able to hold the lease on your land purchase, and a host of other terms and conditions.
It’s worth mentioning that some nations in Africa are subject to instability due to regime changes and local conflicts. This can cause some land deals to be voided if an incoming group decides to revoke all land leases and claim sole ownership of all lands within the country. It’s not a pleasant thought, but you must be prepared for the consequences if this happens.
As with any land purchase, you should also be aware of the dangers of climate changes and other natural disasters. Hurricanes and sandstorms can decimate whole swaths of land, and blight and disease can affect the yield of your crops. Additionally, if you’re dependent on a local labor force, any widespread illnesses may incapacitate your workforce and bring your investment to a standstill.
These considerations, and hundreds more, can be typical of a land purchase anywhere. Just be prepared, and consider all the angles when thinking about where to buy land and how it will be used.
Free vs. Restricted Markets
There are two key types of markets to learn when looking to buy land from other countries in Africa.
The first is a free market, which operates much like any other real estate market elsewhere in the world. Foreign investors are permitted to purchase land as the sole property owner; there are no limitations to who can buy land in these cases.
However, most African countries have restricted markets for real estate. This means that citizens of other countries are forbidden from owning land outright or from making new purchases of land. At the very least, buyers would need to co own a piece of land with a citizen of that country.
Understanding Leases on African Land
Additionally, leases on land in Africa work are not always permanent. In most countries, buyers will lease the land from the government, who will be the sole owner of all property in that country.
In many cases, a lease will last for 99 years, allowing a long-term use of the land that is still attractive to foreigners. That being said, some countries have even shorter leases for the land that they lease.
Benefits of Buying Land in Africa
Africa is experiencing a boom in most aspects of the economy and the population. As nations grow, the ability to feed, house, and support the population will only become more difficult over time - and land is at the center of this concern.
Owning the right parcels of land can provide much needed support for infrastructure, housing, farming, natural resources, and more to account for the needs of a growing population.
Residential real estate needs are of particular concern. Properties that can be developed to accommodate housing for large numbers of people will be highly valuable for investors from all sectors.
Many governments in Africa are also realizing the benefits of opening to foreign investors. As the global economy becomes more and more prevalent, countries are beginning to relax laws and regulations that used to be more stringent, in favor of newer and more open real estate policies.
Beyond international relations, the financial benefits of selling or even simply leasing land can be appealing to these countries as well.
Africa is also rapidly becoming a global hub for trade and commerce. Major cities with existing capabilities are expanding, and new centers of activity are popping up in other places as well.
Even outside of urban areas, the potential to use land in Africa for food production is increasingly drawing attention. Most of Africa is at the center of the worldwide hunger crisis, so building up land sales for agriculture is of paramount importance for addressing these issues.
Uses for Land in Africa
Africa is a massive continent rich in natural resources and potential for growth. Foreigners and locals interested in purchasing land will be spoilt for choice both with the amount of land available, and how it can be used.
One of the primary uses for land is for real estate. This is a sound investment practice for many parts of the world, and with the growing population in many parts of Africa, real estate can fill a real need that there will always be a demand for.
As we’ve previously discussed, farmland and land for livestock is another valuable use for your land in Africa. Meeting the tangible needs of the local and international population by dedicating your arable land to growing food can be an excellent reason for investing in land deals in African countries.
You may choose to invest in purchasing land for other business reasons. Tourism is always a viable pathway in the right location, and many parts of Africa are set aside for conservation to protect endangered plant life and animal species. Contributing to natural conservation in this way makes good business sense, and is a way to help take care of our planet.
Where to Buy Land in Africa
Once again, remember that laws and regulations will not only vary across international borders, but also within each country as well.
Do your due diligence on your chosen property before signing the contract to best understand the conditions of your purchase or lease, how the land is legally allowed to be used, the potential for your land, what kind of dividends you can reasonably expect, and what obstacles may hinder a return on your investment.
West and North Regions
Western and northern nations in Africa have a high potential for future growth. Many of these nations are rich in historical significance, and already have established centers for travel and commerce.
Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal are just a few examples of nations that already have well-established relationships with international groups. Countries like Algeria and Libya are perfectly situated as trade hubs, and Morocco and Tunisia are other countries that are providing growing opportunities for investors.
Land in eastern Africa has long been recognized as an affordable investment, with some prices being as low as $500 per acre.
Egypt is a popular example because of its rich history and established trade centers at the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea. Proximity to landmarks and attractions known the world over is also a natural draw for those who may want to lean into a strong tourism market.
Kenya is another great example of a country where investing in African land would be a great business case. It’s one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, and acts as one of the major eastern gateways into the continent that also boasts a working class fluent in English and open to innovation.
Other nations have restricted markets that only allow land leases, but the potential for rich farmland at lower prices is attractive to many prospective land owners.
The region known as “sub-Saharan Africa” technically encompasses everything south of the Sahara Desert, which covers the majority of the northern part of the continent. This large area around and below the equator offers great potential for various kinds of development.
Whereas areas that are more heavily populated may have smaller parcels of land for sale, plots in sub-Saharan Africa can be much bigger. You can find a large plot of land to invest in for your home or for farming.
Many areas have rich, fertile soil and abundant sources of water. This is perfect if you want to engage in agriculture, or raise livestock or other farm animals for breeding or food purposes.
Additionally, the natural beauty of the region is ideal for philanthropists who want to focus on conservation.
The south region of the continent is another area with a reputation for trade and densely populated areas.
In particular, South Africa has an open market that encourages foreign investment. This applies to real estate purchases for residential use, as well as for agricultural lands that are closed to outside investment in other countries. What’s more, South Africa is one of the more stable countries in the region, so there might be slightly less concern over the volatility of the government.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling