May 19, 2020

Top 10 Commercial Buildings in Africa

Top 10
Shannon Lewis
5 min
Top 10 Commercial Buildings in Africa

We went through Answers Africa’s list “See Africa’s 15 Most Expensive Buildings” and compiled a list of the 10 most expensive commercial buildings in Africa, by construction cost.


10. One Merchant Place - $40mn

Located in Sandton, South Africa, One Merchant Place took an astonishing $40mn to build, according to Answers Africa. It is part of a building complex made up of four office buildings, and is alternatively known as RMB Towers. With construction beginning in 1996, One Merchant Place was opened in 2000. At 84m high, it consists of 20 floors and takes up a floorspace of 28,000 sqm, making it the building with the most floorspace in its complex and is owned by Rand Merchant Bank Properties.


9. 88 on Field - $40mn

Designed by two architecture firms, Murphy/Jahn, Inc. Architects and Stauch Vorster Architects, 88 on Field racked up $40mn in construction costs. Located in Durban, South Africa, 88 is owned by Anglo-American Properties and Services and serves as a block of offices. The building consists of 26 floors, making it an impressive 113.7m high while taking up a total land area of 24,500 sq.m. Begun in 1983 and finished in 1985, it was originally known as the Southern Life Building.


8. Hilton Taba Resorts and Nelson Village - $41mn

Located in South Sinai, Egypt, Hilton Taba Resorts and Nelson Village was originally developed and built by the Israelis for $41mn. It opened in 1982 under the name Ramada Hotel and was signed over to Egypt free of charge in 1989 as a part of a peace treaty agreement between the two countries. With 14 floors, 12 above ground and two below, it stands at around 41m and overlooks three neighbouring countries: Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Built on the shore of the red sea, one of its biggest draws is its private beach.


7. Maison des Députés - $50mn

Seventh on our list is Maison des Députés, a hotel located in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. Despite only being a seven-storey building, which classes it as a low-rise building, it built up $50mn in construction costs and took two years to build, with construction beginning in 2004; its doors opening to the public in 2006. Surrounded by swimming pools and lush gardens, its pale pink pyramid exterior is a major attraction to tourists and locals alike.


6. Hilton Durban - $61mn

Hilton Durban is a five-star hotel based in Durban, South Africa. Designed by FGG Architects Incorporated White Arkitekter AB, it took $61mn to build. Standing at 76m, it consists of 21 floors, 19 above ground and two below, and took over two years to build. It stands next to the International Convention Centre and put together, these building sites take up four city blocks that share underground parking. Hilton Durban’s structure is built upon thick foundation, with support up to 40m deep beneath the tower portion of the hotel.


5. Michelangelo Towers - $64mn

Located in Sandton, South Africa, Michaelangelo Towers is a hotel that managed to rake up $64mn in construction costs. Sandton stands as “the richest square mile” in Johannesburg, South Africa and was designed by architects Bental Abrasion & Partners. Standing at 140m, it consists of 34 floors above ground and two below with 242 suites and rooms. AFK Insider states that Michelangelo Towers connects to the Sandton Convention Centre, which is convenient for hotel guests that need to work in the centre and is also the home site of one of the most expensive penthouses in Sandton, valued at $3mn.


4. The West Hills Mall - $93mn

Designed by Augutus Richardson, the West Hills Mall stands in Accra, Ghana, taking up 23 acres of land. Co-owned by Delico Property Developments, and Social Security and National Insurance Trust, it cost $93mn to build. The West Hills Mall, constructed by South African contractors, consists of 67 local shops and 65 chain outlets. Opened in 2014, it is the most expensive shopping mall in West Africa, currently taking up 27,700 sqm in floor space. However, a proposed second phase will bump the floor space up by 7,000 sqm.


3. Portside Tower - $138mn

Portside Tower, a series of office spaces to let, took $138mn to build. Located in Cape Town, South Africa it is the tallest building in Cape Town, standing at 139m high, only around 9m below the city’s maximum permitted height for buildings. The tower is co-owned by Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments, which rent it out as office spaces. Designed by architects Louis Karol Architects and DHK Architects, construction began in 2011 and was finalised in 2014. Not only does it stand at 32 floors and have a capacity for 3,000, but it is also the first large building in South Africa to almost exclusively use LED lighting.


2. Corinthia Hotel Tripoli - $152mn

Corinthia Hotel Tripoli was inaugurated in 2003 by the then Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem. Located in Tripoli, Libya. The hotel cost $152mn to build and is owned by Ghanem. It was originally known as the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel and was designed by architecture firm Xuereb Martin & Associates. The Corinthia is a five-star hotel run by Maltese Corinthia Hotel International and is considered the most expensive luxury hotel in Africa, consisting of 28 floors racking up a height of 100.48m.


1. Africa Union Conference Centre and Office Complex - $200mn

Topping our list as the most expensive commercial building in Africa is the Africa Union Conference Centre and Office Complex, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The complex cost $200mn in costs, which was funded by the Chinese government as an attempt to promote international relations between China and Ethiopia. It is the second most expensive building in Africa behind the recently-built Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt. Owned by and the headquarters of African Union, its tallest tower stands at 99.9m tall, making it 20 floors in total making it the tallest building in the city. Africa-Facts ranked it the number one most beautiful building in Africa.

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.


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