Crystal Lagoons, a multinational water-innovation company, specialises in creating crystal-clear lagoons in partnership with property developers, bringing the idyllic lifestyle of the beach anywhere in the world. Crystal Lagoons was a silver sponsor of the East African Property Investment Summit in April this year, and is currently in discussion with both public and private partners in Nigeria and Ghana. The company, whose technology is patented in 190 countries, is currently involved in 600 projects in 60 countries in various stages of negotiation and completion, and has started a real estate revolution around the world by enabling the creation and of unlimited sized bodies of crystal clear water at very low construction and maintenance costs.
Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa, Alastair Sinclair, said that the company is excited to expand their presence in Africa, and that they are currently focusing on the West African region. “Strong economic development make for many promising property markets across Africa. For example, rapid population growth and urbanisation in countries like Ghana suggest demand for property and more broadly, a market with increasing potential for sustained economic growth. Growth in population comes with its own set of challenges. In order to facilitate growth while still maintaining quality of life for the population, recreational facilities – such as those that Crystal Lagoons’ technology enables – are vital.”
Ghana’s economy is expected to grow by over 7% in 2017, thanks to factors such as industrial growth and growing public and private investment, including infrastructure. UN Habitat forecasts that the population of Ghana’s capital city, Accra, will grow from 2,5 million in 2011 to roughly 4,2 million by 2025. Accra was listed on British Airways’ “Hot List 2015” and foreign investors have begun taking notice of the country’s real estate sector.
The increasing demand for urban space will force developers to think more innovatively in their design and construction. Crystal Lagoons offers an opportunity for developers to differentiate their product offering and gain an edge over their competitors. When included in residential developments, the crystal-clear lagoons have contributed to growth in sales prices and an increase in sales velocity, as well as an increase in project density, not to mention improvement in quality of life of end-users, who now have the opportunity to have the beach at their doorsteps in any location imaginable.
In Chile, the San Alfonso Del Mar resort originally planned 400 residential units. Due to increased demand created by the addition of a Crystal Lagoon, the project expanded to 1400 units and now attracts visitors from across the world.
“In addition to residential and touristic developments, we are in discussions with interested parties on a new initiative. In order to bring the beach life to a broader spectrum of the population, we are proposing our technology be used to create man-made lagoons for public access. This will benefit the property market not just in the complexes themselves but in a wide radius around the new projects. A public-access lagoon would raise the quality of life of a whole population, and not a select few” said Sinclair.
Ghana’s tourism industry is a significant contributor to the country’s economic growth and development. In 2012, the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) was published and it set the goal of attracting over 2.4 million visitors by 2022. The plan emphasises the development of high-value tourism segments and a focus on increasing private sector investment. The NTDP outlines a process of tourism development that focuses on consolidating the country’s core markets, attracting a broad range of visitors and emphasising sustainability in tourism practices.
A March 2015 report by professional services company PwC, titled “Real Estate: Building the Future of Africa” highlights the growing trend on the continent towards more environmentally friendly construction and development, due to increasing concerns about climate change. This has caused more companies to focus on green property rentals, especially thanks to their operational and economic benefits. In Ghana particularly, tourism tends to focus on niche markets such as ecotourism, rather than focusing on the mass market.
“Sustainability is a key factor driving all new developments in Africa, and Crystal Lagoons’ technology is able to address these concerns. The lagoons can use any type of water – fresh, salt, or brackish (which has no alternative use), and when they are filled with fresh water, use 30 times less water than a golf course of the same size. When looked at together, the unique, patented technology of Crystal Lagoons has an impact across the triple bottom line. The positive social, economic, and environmental effects of these crystal-clear bodies of water has been proved, both in theory and in practice” Sinclair concludes.