Nigeria is the undisputed giant of Africa – at least by most measures. The population is estimated to be 178 million (though unofficial estimates exceed even this). Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy, with a GDP of over half a trillion dollars. Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city and economic centre, is home to 21 million people, and a towering megacity that draws people from all over the continent – and beyond. A crucial component of Nigeria’s economic success is property and real estate. Nigeria has the most dynamic property market in Africa – and is fast becoming a global brand for luxury property and real estate. A discussion held at the Property Investor & Homebuyer Show at the ExCel Centre in London discussed Nigeria’s real estate opportunities, and how to spread the word about the country’s immense opportunities.
A panel on property
The discussion, chaired by Joseph Farodoye, co-founder of Africa Property Invest, and head of African Committee for BRIC Plus Magazine, sought to discuss the Nigerian property market. The opportunities and potential problems were brought up by the panel, and discussed among the audience. Now Africa’s largest economy, growth has been held in part due to a buoyant real estate and construction market. Construction is a rising part of the economy, the output of which is due to overtake India and China by 2020. Three cities are responsible for 65% of Nigeria’s construction sector. Of the three, the capital Abuja is responsible for 22% of the country’s entire real estate industry. This is unsurprising, considering it was a city that sprung up from the wilderness in the 1970s. Nigeria’s real estate market is now attracting significant interest from the international scene. The panel was comprised of Joseph Farodoye co-founder of Africa Property Invest and head of African Committee for BRIC Plus Magazine, The Honourable Hassan Mohammad Hassan, Head of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Mrs. Olufolake Abdulrazaq Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, at the Nigerian High Commission in London, and Ms. Ibiene Ogolo Chief Responsibility Officer of Eko Development Company.
“Some think there is a stigma to do with investing in Africa…I found it a very inviting environment. Don’t just listen to the stories, go out there and get the information yourself. Corruption happens all over the place. Don’t let it deter you. Nigeria is an amazing place, especially for business” – Joseph Farodoye, co-founder of Africa Property Invest
A key point from the discussion was the need to remove all assumption. The emerging countries are often plagued with negative preconceptions. This is particularly true when it comes to business decisions. Nigeria is not immune. “Localised information changes that dynamic” stated Joseph Farodoye, co-founder of Africa Property Invest. And indeed, key facts about Nigeria’s economic and social reality have turned these assumptions squarely on their head. Less than 20% of Nigeria’s population is over the age of 55, which translates into a youthful population, with increasing productivity in a time when the West is experiencing loss of productivity due to an ageing population. The panel stressed that change was happening, and it was imperative, and financially smart, for them to get behind this change.
Nigeria has a history of creating magnificent real estate. Abuja, the capital, and home to 3 million people, is a fantastic example of the countries expertise. In the 1970s, Abuja was created, from scratch, in the centre of Nigeria, a symbol of unity, and a reminder that great things can come from simple beginnings. In Lagos, Africa’s largest city, a new city is being raised from the ocean. Eko Atlantic City is the largest modern development in Africa. Currently spanning more than 5 million square kilometres and growing to an excess of 10 million square kilometres nearing the completion of the development. Built out of the wild Atlantic Ocean, it is an example of the ingenuity of Nigeria’s real estate market.
Times have changed
“The current government is very intent on diversifying the economy, and opening up all sectors, especially property” – The Honourable Hassan Mohammad Hassan, Head of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigerian High Commission London
The key theme of the discussion was about current development, new opportunity, and the enabling of the diaspora within the Nigerian real estate market. Nigeria is developing at break-neck speed with its skyline changing daily from the ICI (Investment, Communication and Infrastructure) being implemented across this vast nation. It is with this in mind that any astute investor looking for growth in any emerging economy, deem Nigeria as one of the strongest global contenders and a powerhouse for tomorrow’s new world.
Written By Saad Ahmed for BRIC Plus News