Nairobi tops Africa peers in race for developers of high-end shopping malls


Shoppers at the Game, an outlet at Garden City Mall on Thika Road in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE

Nairobi has overshadowed Africa’s cities such as Lagos and Kinshasa to become sub-Saharan Africa’s top destination for developers setting up shopping malls.

A report by property management firm Knight Frank shows that Nairobi has a total shopping mall space of 391,000 square metres (sqm), with an additional 470,000 sqm in the pipeline.

The report, which it titled ‘2016 Shop Africa’, listed Namibia’s Windhoek capital as the second biggest retail city with a floor space of 260,000 sqm with Botswana’s Gaborone coming in third at 247,000 sqm.

Uganda’s Kampala was ranked fourth with a space measuring 182,000 sqm.

“Among the cities covered by this report, Nairobi stands out as a major focus for shopping centre development,” the report, which covered 47 countries in the continent, states.

“It is ranked as the largest market by existing shopping centre floor space and it has the biggest development pipeline.”

The report excludes South Africa which has an estimated, three million square metre space, seven times more than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Lagos, whose population stands at 12.6 million, has an existing mall space of 121,000 sqm with an additional space of 240,000 sqm under development.

Nairobi has over the past decade been the scene of a shopping mall construction frenzy with investors seeking to cash in on increased spending power of a growing middle class population.

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The report notes economic growth across the continent has produced a population that is “brand conscious and technology-savvy” and who “demand access to the increasingly sophisticated retail formats” offered by the new malls.

They include TRM and Garden City on Thika Road, The Hub in Karen, Ananas Mall in Thika town and Juja City Mall are among the latest developments in Nairobi and its environs.

The spruced up shopping centres have expansive food courts, supermarket chains, cinemas and luxury clothing lines among other retail stores which offer wide variety to well-heeled shoppers.

Some of the upcoming malls in Nairobi include Two Rivers, Rosslyn Riviera in Gigiri, The Waterfront in Karen, while Garden City and the Village Market are also expanding their facilities.

This growing retail sector has attracted international brands such as clothing line Foshini Group, French supermarket chain Carrefour and fast-food companies including Pizza Hut, Subway and Burger King.

“Within sub-Saharan cities where the shopping centre concept has already taken root, the trend is towards the development of bigger and higher quality malls.

“This is exemplified by Nairobi, already the largest market in the region by floor space, it has seen its retail offer continue to grow and improve.”
Nairobi, Luanda, Lagos, Dar es Salaam and Maputo were ranked as the cities with the largest upcoming shopping space. The cities have a total of 1.5 million sqm under construction.