Johannesburg – After much anticipation, the Mall of Africa will officially open its doors to the public next week Thursday.

Punted as “the biggest mall in Africa” – well, it is the largest single-phase shopping centre development to date at 130 000 square metres of retail space – the mall aims to cement Johannesburg as the shopping mecca of the continent and set a new benchmark for shopping centres on the continent.

The Mall of Africa is situated in the Waterfall Estate between Midrand and Sandton, one of the fastest growing nodes in South Africa.

According to the developers, the mall will serve as the hub of the 323 hectare Waterfall development project estimated to cost R71 billion to complete, with 11 more years of development still to go.

The Waterfall development is expected to expand over the next 10 to 15 years to become around the same size as Sandton.

Developers want the Mall of Africa to act as a hub around which other amenities would be clustered and set a new benchmark in mixed-use shopping and entertainment, forming an anchor around which a range of mixed-use developments including retail, offices, hotel, conference and recreational amenities and residential areas will grow.

The whole precinct masterplan’s urban design seeks to promote an integrated live-work-play environment.

Corporations including Cell C, Altech Group, Cipla and Group Five have their headquarters in the precinct.