Middle East property investments outside region rise in H1: CBRE

Updated 10 September 2015
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Middle East property investments outside region rise in H1: CBRE

DUBAI: The value of Middle East investments in real estate outside the region surged 64 percent to $11.5 billion in the first half of 2015, although two deals by sovereign funds accounted for nearly half this year’s total, consultants CBRE say.
The splurge came despite a 44 percent drop in USlight crude oil prices in the 12 months to June 30.
The CBRE said sovereign wealth funds accounted for $8.3 billion of the spending in the first six months of this year — almost quadruple their outlay of $2.27 billion in the prior-year period.
“The size of the region’s foreign investment makes the Middle East the third-largest source of cross regional capital globally as Arab investors look for brighter investment prospects internationally,” Nick Maclean, CBRE Middle East managing director, said in the statement.
This year’s spending includes Qatar’s $2.5 billion investment in Maybourne Hotels and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (ADIA) $2.4 billion purchase of a 50 percent stake in three Hong Kong hotels.
These deals helped make London, with $2.75 billion, and Hong Kong, with $2.4 billion, the top destinations for Middle Eastern property investors. New York was third with $1.1 billion and Milan’s $990 million placed it fourth.
In terms of sectors, hotel investments rose 437 percent to $6.75 billion — or 59 percent of total Middle East spending — while office acquisitions fell by nearly half to $1.99 billion and retail purchases dropped 40 percent to $708 million.
Other buys, which include residential property, jumped 144 percent to $1.66 billion.
“Hotels (are) growing in importance as sovereign wealth funds and high-net-worth individuals focus on real assets that generate long-term revenue,” said Iryna Pylypchuk of CBRE Global Research.
Property purchases by non-sovereign wealth funds fell to $3.2 billion in the first half of 2015, from $4.7 billion a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on CBRE data.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.