The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the global trade association for the shopping centre industry, has launched an African research group to help its membership tap into the economic growth potential across the continent.
This is the sixth regional research group launched by the ICSC. Others focus on North America, Europe and the Far East.
Belinda Clur, a Cape Town-based member of both the North American and European research groups, has accepted the ICSC invitation to launch and chair the African research group. Ms. Clur is the Managing Director of Clur Research International, a consultancy which provides services, primarily in the retail property sector, across Africa.
“Because of her knowledge of ICSC research structures and operations and her own professional focus on developments across Africa, Ms. Clur is well placed to lead this initiative,” said Michael P. Niemira, director of research and chief economist for ICSC, based in New York. “It is also recognition of the strong case she has put within the ICSC for the African growth story in recent years and for an ICSC involvement on the continent.”
The proposed main aim of the group is to create a network of pan-African shopping centre, retail property and financial industry members to promote pan-African retail research, guide best practices and provide the ICSC with strategic direction and advice on industry issues and research initiatives that are specific to the African context.
Ms. Clur says “I believe the group will serve a highly valuable role for the ever increasing number of shopping centre investors and retailers pioneering into what are often uncharted territories across Africa. It will offer a platform for engagement and opportunities for experience sharing, networks and collaboration.“Given the alignment with and the support of the existing ICSC research groups, an added benefit will be an in-depth perspective of the dynamics of both emerging and developed economies.”
Ms. Clur notes that the African research group is initially targeting a small core group of representatives from shopping centre landlords, investors, developers and retailers with a pan-African representation or focus.
“Africa clearly represents a unique growth opportunity for retail real estate professionals, and this new research group is part of our initiative to support the industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to our plans for education and attracting retailers to the region” said Michael Morrissey, ICSC’s managing director, responsible for Sub-Saharan Africa, based in London. “ The African research group will go a long way to provide our members with insights into this burgeoning area,” he said.