Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both instances, and this population is seeing its retail market gradually begin to unearth its potential as a global retail player. Here, RLI takes a look at recently completed and soon-to-be-finished projects across the continent, highlighting how it is beginning to make a name for itself in the world of retail and leisure developments.


By 2050, it is estimated that one in every four people on the planet will be African, twelve of the 25 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and the continent has 52 cities with populations of more than one million – which is the same as Europe.

It is because of facts like these that the retail property sector has been a major focus for development activity within Africa over the last decade, causing the shopping mall concept to take root in an increasingly wide range of major African cities.

Over the next few years, Africa will witness the launch of new retail entertainment hubs and malls that will entice global brands with more space and better infrastructure. Africa’s emerging economies present exciting opportunities to global businesses for expansion in retail, distribution, entertainment and gaming.

African millennials are changing their consumer spending patterns, from markets to malls, where apart from shopping they can eat, socialize and get entertained at Family Entertainment Centres (FEC)s. Changing demographics and improving business environments across the continent will be just two of the factors contributing to rising household consumption, which is predicted to reach $2.5 trillion by 2030. Seven countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa, will soon hold half of the continent’s population, and 43 percent of Africans across the continent will belong to the middle or upper classes. Lucrative opportunities throughout Africa exist for investment, production, and delivery.

In the race to catch up with the rest of the retail world, highly-expectant, globally-aware African consumers will see brands cater to them in ways previously unimaginable. As local companies utilize online and offline channels, Africa is primed to educate the rest of the world about the ultimate retail experience.

The continent of Africa is fast turning into a vibrant and exciting hub where opportunities are rife, and this is only set to increase as the pandemic tide begins to turn.

Projects Across The Continent
Abu Dhabi-based developer Imkan has awarded an AED134M contract to build the first open-air shopping mall in Morocco. Construction of the Le Carrousel Mall has begun and is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2022. The construction contract for the Le Carrousel Mall was awarded to Bymaro, a subsidiary of Bouygues Batiment International while the mall has been designed by architect Ernesto Klingenberg of Spanish design firm, L35. Spanning 33,000sq m, the Le Carrousel Mall will be home to local and international franchises, F&B outlets and entertainment and leisure activities. It will also feature new gastronomic experiences, arts and culture events with seasonal programmes running throughout the year. The contract to build the first phase of Le Carrousel was given to Sogea Maroc, the subsidiary of the French Group Vinci, which will build the residential areas, seafront promenade including over 40 retail outlets across the coastal development. Construction of Le Carrousel’s first phase began early this year and it is situated off the Atlantic coast covering ten hectares, the seaside destination is 15-minute drive from downtown Rabat. Phase one will also include 100 stores, a multiplex cinema and 4,300sq m of F&B outlets and a food court.

Offering an upscale shopping experience for the inhabitants of Al Rehab City and its environs, Boulevard Al Rehab is set
to become a privilege for the community. The mall will cater for

all age’s groups with a various range of facilities. The concept of Boulevard Al Rehab is characterized by a well-balanced structure between commercial and retail spaces, in addition to global brand hypermarket and wide range of international brands. The family & friends facilities combination is
enhanced by a kid’s entertainment area as well as a cinema which is operated by leaders of the field. A start up project by a prominent real estate investment group, United Global Company (UGC), with a capital investment of around 1.2 BillionEGP, Boulevard Al Rehab has an area of 25,000sq m, out of which the total construction area is about 100,000sq m comprising 6 different levels.

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Le Carrousel Mall Rabat, Morocco
Developer: Imkan

Currently under construction by Indigo Property, Tunis Garden City is a concept that imagines a district that is well connected to the rest of the city, yet combines the essential components of a self-contained community, thus making Tunis City Garden as a ‘city within a city’. The new city of Tunis will be served by a number of facilities including office and residential buildings, a museum, an entertainment and leisure, a hotel/service apartments and retail components. However it is the retail and leisure offering, situated at the heart of the community, which makes this development exceptionally unique. The project is currently due to open this year.

Zenata Mall is poised to become the largest mall in North Africa with 120,000sq m of gross leasable area. Over the past year, the teams at Al Futtaim, Marjane Holding, Sonae Sierra and Société d’Aménagement Zenata (SAZ) have collaborated to develop an innovative retail, marketing and branding strategy to position Zenata Mall as Morocco’s largest and most attractive shopping, food, family and leisure destination. The mall is currently set to open in 2022. The €100M investment is located in Mohammedia, Casablanca and when it is open it will include 250 shops served by approximately 3,650 parking spaces. The centre will have 18 anchor shops, including IKEA and Marjane hypermarket.

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Mall of Tembisa, Gauteng, South Africa
Developer: McCormick Property Development

Tatu City is a 5,000-acre, mixed-use development in Kenya with homes, schools, offices, a shopping district, medical clinics, nature areas, a sport & entertainment complex and manufacturing area for more than 150,000 residents and tens of thousands of day visitors. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has given Strategic Environment Assessment approval to the second phase of Tatu City, as the new city expands to meet demand for businesses, homes and social amenities. The approval from NEMA paves the way for Tatu City to develop on its 2,500-acre second phase. The city’s first phase, also 2,500 acres, has more than 50 businesses operating or developing, two schools open educating 3,000 students daily and more than 5,000 homes delivered or under construction. Tatu City’s master plan was created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s leading design, urban planning, architecture and engineering firms. More than 30 per cent of Tatu City is reserved for green areas and public spaces. Companies already operating or developing at Tatu Industrial Park include Cooper K-Brands, Dormans, Chandaria Industries, Twiga Foods, Kim-Fay, Africa Logistics Properties, Mapei, Copia, Tianlong and Stecol Corporation.

The ongoing construction of Eko Atlantic City by developer Eko Atlantic is an entirely new coastal city being built on Victoria Island adjacent to Lagos, Nigeria. It is a focal point for investors capitalising on rich development growth based on massive demand – and a gateway to emerging markets of the continent. With an expected population of 300,000 residents in Eko Atlantic and 200,000 daily commuters, retailers operating within the city will enjoy the opportunity to serve this massive new market. Further, these newly built entertainment outlets, restaurants, and a variety of stores will attract customers from the nearby commercial centres of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Lekki. There will be 107,500sq m of net leasable area is dedicated to the Eko Atlantic Mall. It will be the largest shopping centre in the whole of West Africa. The mall will include a vast array of amenities and entertainment, with ample on-site parking, giving shoppers access to premium retail with abundant lifestyle options including department stores, kids’ entertainment, food courts and cinemas.

South African developer McCormick Property has launched one new project in the last twelve months and amongst its pipeline currently has two projects scheduled to open this year. The iconic Mall of Tembisa opened its doors in November. The 68th development by rural retail experts McCormick Property Development brings a retail offering of outstanding quality to the residents of Tembisa and its surroundings. The regional mall was constructed over a period of 18 months, six of which were under various levels of the lockdown that resulted from the current pandemic. The Mall of Tembisa boasts over 140 tenants including four major food anchors – Super Spar, Shoprite, Boxer and Roots. The 44,809sq m double level mall also offers access to the full banking gambit, all major fashion brands, Dischem and Clicks. But this development is about more than retail excellence, it is about providing the community of Tembisa with a sense of hope for the future and a promise of better things to come.

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Tunis Garden City, Tunis, Tunisia
Developer: Indigo Property

In addition to the new opening, McCormick Property Development is also working on Flagstaff Square and the opening for this project is scheduled for the final quarter of this year. Flagstaff Square will be a double level mall anchored by Shoprite and Roots Butchery. The 10,800sq m development is over 70 per cent let with full service offerings from Clicks, Absa and Capitec Bank and includes a substantial fashion offering from Truworths, Markhams, Sportscene, Ackermans, Pep, Power Fashion and Dodos. Development also recently commenced on Mt Frere Mall in Mt Frere for completion this year. This development is in partnership with AJ Property Holdings and will include almost 20,000sq m of leasable area in the first phase. Mt Frere will host a number of national retailors whilst still ensuring that local development and investment are a major priority.

Castle Gate Lifestyle Centre opened in November last year and occupies a prime site adjacent to the N1, Van Ryneveld Ave and Solomon Mahlangu Dr. This central location features easy access to and superb visibility from all surrounding roads. Developed by Atterbury Property, this modern mixed-use development features 115,000sq m of offices, 90,000sq m of residential space with 1,100 units, 40,000sq m of space is used for a medical centre and there is a Planet Fitness Gym and a hotel alongside the 23,000sq m of retail space.

The Arch, which was being developed by Multiply Property Holdings, covers 45,000sq m, including 163 apartments (30 of which are loft apartments). The Umhlanga Arch in KwaZulu Natal has rapidly adding big name tenants including the Hilton Hotel Group and SMG BMW. The R1.3bn development is characterised by an iconic sea-facing arch configuration and European-inspired high streets. The residential component of this upmarket mixed-use development offers smart-ready apartment and double volume lofts, while the office space is attracting much interest. Completed in stages last year, it will not only be a good fit for international and local travellers, but will feed into the business hub of this bespoke, mixed-use development. It offers a business centre, fitness hub, outdoor pool and various food and beverage outlets, including a garden and lounge bar.

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Boulevard Mall Al Rehab, New Cairo, Egypt
Developer:United Global Company