Kenneth Sharpe
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Kenneth Sharpe is Putting Zimbabwe’s Real Estate in the Global Spotlight

Kenneth Raydon Sharpe is the brain behind Zimbabwe’s leading real estate firm, West Property. The Zimbabwean businessman, philanthropist, and real estate developer is helping to scale the value of properties in the Southern African nation. 

Sharpe had quite a rough childhood, growing up in a  colonised Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), when he was forced to flee to neighbouring South Africa due to the country’s violent civil war. He would later return to Zimbabwe after the country gained independence in 1980. Sharpe, a seven-year-old boy, was thrown into a new era of social change, cultural integration, and uncertainty when he returned to his home country.

How he launched his career

Sharpe began his business career in 1991 when he founded the West Group, a confectionary and food distribution firm with operations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa. He also established InterAfrica Franchise Bottlers in South Africa. In 2006, West Group was renamed West Properties Zimbabwe in collaboration with Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Sheremet. 

Since then, West Properties Zimbabwe has executed notable projects such as Kuwadzana 4 Extension, a housing project of approximately 4,500 residential homes, and Mainway Meadows, a housing project of 2,300 homes.  

The real estate CEO adopted technology far ahead of many of his peers and was already leveraging remote work opportunities to run his business before the COVID-19 outbreak. By the time the COVID-19 lockdowns were in full force in 2020, Sharpe’s firm was in tune with remote work. He credits this in an interview as a major reason why he won the Forbes Africa Best of Africa Most Innovative CEO Award. 

Sharpe’s recognition spotlights Zimbabwe’s place on the global map for real estate investments. He said that “with the discretion of allowing US dollar to work with RTGS dollars, I think the economy is beginning to flourish. The international community really needs to know that every dollar they invest in the country can be taken out of the country. It’s always the exit that people are interested in. I believe having the currencies traded together will allow them to have that reassurance.” 

This statement follows the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) directive for commercial banks to prioritise 15% of all foreign payments toward disinvestment by portfolio investors on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

For years, foreign investors on the ZSE have struggled to withdraw their investments, which was around $120 million by 2019, from Zimbabwe, but the move by the RBZ cames as a major relief.

Support for Green Living

Sharpe’s West Property announced a $100,000 investment in going green with two of its prestigious developments, Millennium Park and Pomona City, in December 2022.

The firms stated that the tree planting would take place on the 1st of December, which is national tree planting day. Trees and shrubs will be planted to create a green zone and visually appealing views.

According to West Property, greening is incorporated into its properties as a key component of sustainable development and response to climate change.

Because of the use of renewable energy, the planting of trees and flowers, and the use of sustainable building materials, West Property’s developments can be classified as garden and smart cities.

West Property is offering serviced and affordable luxury lifestyle housing units, making a huge affirmation on the property scene and helping Harare achieve its world-class status.

According to Sharpe, the value of the properties will have increased by 2050.

“We are creating this lifestyle estate. When you look at that value today, it is worth $3 billion. This is how much our bricks equate to in the built-up area.

Mark my words, by 2050, the value of property in Zimbabwe today at $3 billion is going be much higher. We are talking about $15 billion to $30 billion of value that we are creating for our nation,” said Sharpe.

Accolades and other ventures

Sharpe’s West Property was awarded Best Residential Development 20+units Zimbabwe and Top Developers Zimbabwe at the African and Arabian Laufen International Property Awards 2022.

The real estate visionary was appointed chairman of the World Economic Forum, Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) initiatives “Doing Business in Africa” and “Family Philanthropy Network” in 2005. He previously served as Chapter Forum Chair, Education Chair, and was the youngest Chapter Chairman in 2008, resigning in 2015.

Kenneth Sharpe partnered with JW Oliver to co-found Global BP Solutions in 2017, through which he has invested in Solar IPPs in Ukraine. He was admitted to the prestigious HBS OPM 3-year programme in 2019 and will graduate in 2022 as an Alumni. He also graduated from Harvard Business School, and as part of his final dissertation on strategy, he launched the One Billion Bricks by 2050 initiative.

Read More Inspiring Stories: Who are Africa’s Leading Real Estate Giants?

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