Why China Is Increasingly Investing in African Property

Women carry bricks at the construction site of real estate company Sipim in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, September 15, 2015. Th
Women carry bricks at the construction site of real estate company Sipim in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, September 15, 2015. They are paid 25 West African francs (about $0.04) for each brick they carry. From Abidjan’s packed airport arrivals hall to the buildings mushrooming across the capital, Ivory Coast is booming, a rare African bright spot as the world’s biggest cocoa producer bounces back from a 2011 civil war. Buyers of luxury apartments include Ivorians living overseas, while promoters from Morocco, Turkey and China are attracted by tax breaks. Elections - the source of national unrest four years ago - are due in a month but there is no let-up in investment given expectations of an easy victory for incumbent Alassane Ouattara. The government predicts 9.6 percent growth this year, making the former French colony the standout performer on a continent hammered by a slump in commodity prices, capital outflows and tumbling currencies. REUTERS/Joe PenneyPICTURE 19 OF 33 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "IVORY COAST IS BOOMING". SEARCH "BOOMING PENNEY" FOR ALL IMAGES

Amid a prolonged economic downturn and a weakening yuan, Chinese investors have steadily turned their focus to buying overseas assets. While there are a number of complicated reasons behind the massive capital outflows over the past 18 months, the fact remains that both individual and corporate investors are looking abroad for growth opportunities and hedges against currency fluctuations at home. In 2015, an estimated 750 billion dollars of Chinese money left the country.

For individuals, foreign real estate is among the preferred investment options as Chinese families buy second homes in Australia, the United States and Europe. For some, these homes are purely for investment, but for many other Chinese, buying real estate allows them to secure residency, secure a base for their children's education and as environmental conditions worsen in China, living abroad is increasingly seen as a desirable option.

In the past, Africa has not been a popular destination for Chinese real estate investors, but there is new evidence to suggest that may no longer be the case. Dr. Honita Cowaloosur of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town recently completed an in-depth research study on China's growing appetite for property in South Africa and Mauritius.

Honita joins Eric & Cobus -- in the podcast above -- to discuss why Chinese investors are now choosing to invest in African real estate and why the continent is seen as an increasingly desirable investment destination.

Watch Eric Olander discuss U.S. and Chinese competition for influence in Africa on HuffPost Live: