After two years of downturn in business activities in the Nigerian real estate sector following economic recession in the country, the sector appears to be emerging from recession, as the easing of inflationary pressure, improvement of foreign exchange liquidity, improved investment inflows and increased oil production have contributed to indicate a positive growth outlook for Nigeria.
Nigeria has faced strong headwinds in the past two years. However, the currency uncertainty and falling oil price, as well as production that has weighed heavily on consumer confidence, are giving way. The World Bank had predicted an exit from recession this year and economic growth of 1%, which was later reviewed to 1.2% by mid-year.
But the sentiment for West African real estate has been largely negative over the last two years. In order to change this narrative, industry stakeholders last weekend gathered at the West Africa Property Investment Summit in Lagos, to discuss ways to overcome current obstacles and uncover the countless opportunities across Nigeria and the broader West African region.
According to the Managing Director of API Events, organisers of the summit, Mr. Kfir Rusin, “With a population of over 185 million people, strong real estate development fundamentals and a +6% contribution of real estate to GDP, we believe in the long-term potential of Nigeria’s real estate sector. We are excited to host our conference in Lagos.
“While there have been some short-term headwinds, there are encouraging signs of market improvement and the summit will provide a vehicle in driving back prosperity into the local and regional property market.” The West Africa Property Investment, (WAPI) Summit was a high-calibre two-day real estate-focused conference with very specific objectives related to changing the West African narrative with the aims to restore global confidence in Nigeria’s real estate sector and to identify critical factors for survival and growth in a recession.
Other objectives of the event include to highlight new funding and building solutions tailored towards West Africa’s property market, uncover emerging and untapped opportunities within the West African market, define a new agenda for private and public sector partnership as a bolster for growth in the local and regional property market. Others were to outline a sustainable framework for pricing rent and services in West African retail, create a platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing between local and international stakeholders, improve market transparency and efficiency through regulations, data capture, technology and government interventions.
The Summit which had in attendance over 350 delegates and 175 companies, offered insights, thought-leadership and solution-focused tools with an emphasis on driving further development and investment in the local and regional real estate market. Key focus areas include debt and lease restructuring in a recession, managing foreign exchange risks, uncovering emerging asset classes, improving the ease of doing business and jump-starting the Nigerian housing finance market, among other things.
Specifically, the Summit provided the perfect platform for initiating a dialogue between West Africa’s private and public sectors, with the coordination of public infrastructure development with local and global real estate investment. “This presents Nigeria and the West African region with an opportunity to reinvigorate the country’s commercial and residential real estate sectors, and once again, position itself as the number one investment destination for local and global capital,” Rusin noted. Key government stakeholders from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development as well as the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission were in attendance and shared insights on government projects relevant to the real estate sector.