The Global (particularly Africa) Investor – The Property Chronicle
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The Global (particularly Africa) Investor

My World 2021

My World: June 2021…

This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.

Thank goodness the world is getting on with funding & rebuilding fit for purpose global agencies to address global issues. How different things might have been with Covid-19 if it had been met immediately with a massive international response from a unified WHO.

My business travel to Africa still hasn’t resumed. My last trip was just before the lockdown, to Zimbabwe in March 2020.That’s now 15 months without kicking the tires of any of our portfolio companies on the ground. Sure, we do Zoom & Skype etc. but nothing compares to face to face meetings & touching the assets of our investments and to having beers with our friends in bars in Lagos, Nairobi, Harare, Cairo.

It’s not that we’re not allowed to fly to these places now, it’s that I still haven’t got my immunity certificate to travel because the vaccination program is still in it’s experimental stage & only available to key workers. Frankly, also, I’m not a wimp but I don’t trust any of the data & I’m still wary that the virus may be more prevalent than governments are telling us.

Our main office is now in Harare. The weather’s good. It’s safe & it’s a decent hub for our work. My business partner had already relocated there before the March 2020 lockdown, lucky him. I will be spending more time there once I’ve had the jab & can travel.

Meanwhile, I & my three colleagues in the UK work from home 3-4 days a week. We pulled the plug on renting our office in South Kensington in September 2020. Why pay £100,000 a year for a space we were hardly using? We now just meet one day a week & for investor/company meetings, although these are still few & far between as we only see about 20% of our previous level of requests to meet face to face in London.

We’ve taken a space with 4 desks & a private meeting room as a sublet from an advertising agency. It’s only costing us £2,000 a month & we enjoy the treats of Farringdon on our once weekly London days.

Brexit “negotiations” rumble on. Despite Raab’s majority (poor old Boris),he’s finding it tough to extricate the UK from the grip of Macron’s doubled down, ‘ever closer’ European Union. Emboldened by his success in facing down the Italians, he’s keener than ever to show it doesn’t pay to leave the club. Italy & Spain are burning & euros are now changing hands for less than a dollar. Still, I dither about buying that holiday home in France because I’m not sure how I’ll feel being somewhere I’m not wanted.

The silver lining is, as I said at the beginning, Biden seems to mean it when he says he’s optimistic that a “coalition of the willing & able” can rebuild the UN, NATO & the WHO so that the war in Syria can’t happen again & the next virus will be crushed before it can wreak the havoc this one has done.

Who knows how we’ll pay for all that!?

My predictions for June 2021:

UK in recession: No

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