Smart Cities: A Torchlight on the City Owners in Africa

As the world evolves and urbanization increases, there is an increasing need for additional development throughout cities.

However, cities are not merely developing for the sake of development; rather, the globe is focusing on the development of smart cities.

With Africa being the world’s second most populous continent and half of its inhabitants expected to live in cities by 2035, the region has also embraced the smart city idea, which harnesses the power of technology to provide a conducive environment for the people.

As much as governments across Africa are at the forefront of enabling the smart cities concept, the private sector is seen to be playing a huge role in the initiative’s actualization because there are various smart cities owned and developed by private individuals and groups across various African countries.

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the private individuals and organizations who own or are known as the pioneers of smart cities in Africa.

The Chagoury Organization

The Chagoury Group, founded by Nigerian-Lebanese brothers Gilbert and Ronald Chagoury, is the developer of Eko Atlantic City, a public-private collaboration between the Chagoury Group and the Lagos State Government in Lagos, Nigeria.

The $6 billion privately funded Eko Atlantic project, which is still being built in Lagos’s coastal Victoria Island area, began in 2009 with land reclamation from the Atlantic Ocean.

Aside from real estate, the Chagoury Group has extensive investments and interests in a variety of other industries, including construction, hospitality, and insurance, and is estimated to be worth $4.2 billion as of 2023 by Forbes.

Douw Steyn

Douw Steyn, a South African billionaire, is an insurance entrepreneur and the proprietor of one of South Africa’s most luxury residential megacities, Steyn City, which currently accommodates thousands of Johannesburg residents. Steyn City is a 2,200-acre neighborhood comprising high-end housing, private hospitals, schools, a golf course, an equestrian center, and 2,000 acres of parks, all surrounded by a three-meter-high perimeter wall. Steyn is the founder of BGL Group, a UK-based insurance and financial services company with operations in South Africa and Australia, and the parent company of, which is well-known for its popular TV advertising.

Steyn is known for his ambitious real estate ventures, and his fortune is expected to be $3 billion according to the 2023 Sunday Times Rich list.

Talaat Mostafa Holdings

This group, which is majority-owned by Egyptian Talaat Mostafa and the Saudi Bin Laden families, has made significant contributions to Egypt’s real estate business.

The group is led by Talaat Mostafa, a notable businessman and politician, and owns Madinaty City, which is located in New Cairo satellite city, in the Eastern Area of Cairo, Egypt, and is one of Egypt’s first completely integrated communities, standing out as a beacon of modern and contemporary life.

Mostafa is well-known in the real estate industry for pioneering various ventures, notably the building of “Al-Rahab,” Egypt’s first integrated residential metropolis that transformed the desert scenery into a vibrant community equipped with basic amenities and services.

The Talaat Moustafa Group rose to become Egypt’s largest shareholder in the private real estate sector under Moustafa’s leadership.

Yassin Mansour

Yassin Mansour is the founder of Palm Hills Developments and the creator of Badya City in Egypt, which is known as a creative metropolis with a unique concept that spans over 3000 acres of land.

Mansour is a well-known businessman and former member of Egypt’s Al Ahly Club’s board of directors.

His Palm Hills Developments has a reputation for excellent international development standards, with multiple projects spanning Cairo and the Red Sea, making it a pioneer developer in the Egyptian real estate industry.

In 2006, Palm Hills Developments was one of the first real estate investment and development companies to be listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange.

Owusu-Amofah, Bright

Bright Owusu-Amofah is the mastermind of Appolonia City, which is located in Takoradi and on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana.

According to Owusu-Amofah, the initiatives were designed to assist reduce traffic and congestion in Accra’s capital city, as well as to develop a community where everything is in one location.

Mr. Owusu-Amofah holds a certificate from Harvard Business School’s Real Estate Management Program.

Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Analyst at Black Star Advisors and in different jobs in investment banking, as well as in the financial services sector of Barclaycard in the UK as an Accounts Manager.

His city developments are currently rated as the largest in Ghana by the private sector.

Kenyatta Family

This is the family of two previous Kenyan presidents. Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya’s first president from 1964 to 1978, and his son Uhuru Kenyatta served as the country’s fourth president from 2013 to 2022.

The Kenyattas are working on an enormous real estate project called Northland City, which would result in an 11,000-acre mixed-use smart estate with residential, industrial, and commercial units that will house approximately 250,000 people.

The Sh500 billion investment is located in Ruiru, some 15 kilometers from Nairobi’s city center.

The billionaire Kenyatta family, Kenya’s largest landholders, is one of the country’s wealthiest families, owing to their huge land holdings and broad financial portfolio.

Hawkwood Real Estate

The Zambia-based specialty fund manager is the creator of La Cité du Fleuve, popularly known as River City, a well-planned neighborhood in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo, built on reclaimed Congo River land.

The Medine Organization

The Medine Group, a recognized economic actor in Mauritius, is the brain behind Uniciti, which is aimed to combine the main components of a quality city living to achieve total sustainability in all areas of life.

Uniciti, which was launched in September 2017, promotes the notion of ‘Live, Work, Enjoy, and Learn’ and is quickly emerging as one of Mauritius’ most ambitious initiatives, reinvigorating the country’s west.

Its founder, the Medine Group, founded over 90 years ago, is now expanding its horizons by implementing a new company strategy that consists of developing three strategic areas: agriculture, property, and leisure.

Medine Ltd is one of the top 75 economic players in Mauritius, and is listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange.


Rendeavous is Africa’s largest new city builder, with a team of highly qualified professionals with decades of expertise in Africa and other growing markets.

It is the initiator of Tatu City in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, as well as the developer in charge of Alaro City, which is located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone region of Epe, Lagos State, Nigeria, and is a joint venture between it and the Lagos State government.

The developer has completed large-scale residential and commercial developments in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on approximately 30,000 acres of land. Its projects are one-of-a-kind, with highly integrated and modern facilities.

Attacq Limited

Waterfalls City in South Africa is being developed by Attacq Limited. It is a premier Real Estate Investment Trust with an award-winning property portfolio worth more than R28 billion.

Waterfall City, which is still under construction, will have over 1.6 million square meters of Gross Leasable Area planned for long-term expansion.

The concept of smart cities is appealing, and the fact that several of them are sprouting up across African countries adds to the appeal. However, the numbers are still small in comparison to the continent’s urban needs, so private individuals, corporate bodies, and governments must demonstrate greater commitment by raising more funds and forming more partnerships to ensure the realization of adequate and modernized housing needs for the African people.

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