Our passionate curiosity about other cultures led us to Africa. We quickly realized our image of Africa was not entirely accurate. We grew angry. Why does a continent attract so much negatively biased attention? Why does the west have such an inaccurate view of the continent? Of course, there is poverty, but there is so much more: hope, passion, ambition, and a strong sense of connection and belonging between people.
While the west struggles in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Africa is looming large on the horizon. Many growth economies are on the African continent.
Years ago, we were able to experience Africa’s strength and resilience not only in international business, but also in building valuable relationships through hospitality. Even in conversations with local taxi drivers, we discovered a different Africa.
Still, many questions remained. It kept influencing our work and life back home. But more than that: it showed the poverty of the developed world.
To enable our knowledge and experiences to have more significance for both the continent and ourselves, we started a business: GreenDreamCompany. Our company focuses on viable and scalable ventures in the tourism infrastructure space in Africa.
The tourism industry is responsible for most of the gross national product of countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia. It is this sector that opens the window to the rest of the world and creates a wind of change. In urban as well as rural areas. It generates jobs, skilled and unskilled. It makes people able to look through different eyes. It brings pride. More importantly, it reinforces a climate of positive image. As this sector is in its infancy, it could use a helping hand. So it was merely a logical step to take, for us.
How Demography Will Benefit The Real Estate Industry in Africa
For all intents and purposes, the African continent is the ‘last frontier’. Although some people still refer to it as the lost frontier. All African economies have one thing in common however and that is the to ensure they meet the demands of its citizens. Half of the continent’s population is aged younger than 30. A few years ago 67% of Rwanda’s population was under the age of 25. In the next decade these citizens will be starting families of their own. The population boom of the recent past and future will impact the continent considerably. Consulting firm Deloitte: “It captures, at once, the African opportunity and her dilemma. The opportunity is that large population numbers create the very necessary volume for any consumer goods and services. Numbers move product.”
The Birth of GreenDreamCompany
About 8 years ago we both had our own successful companies. Leon in real estate development, and me, Leontine, in inter-cultural management, diversity and integrity. Together we set up GreenDreamCompany that lead us to discover hidden treasures in Africa.
With our focus on for first venture Solomon’s Hidden Treasure on 2020, we envision Rwanda and Ethiopia to remain stable economies, with a growing middle class, by 2020.
Leontine van Hooft
Léon van Rijckevorsel