Eko Atlantic City is, increasingly, raising hope for foreign direct investment in Nigeria’s troubled economy as foreign interest in the city is growing as demonstrated by frequent visits to the project by international investors and British trade delegations.
A rising smart city being developed on reclaimed land from the shores of Atlantic Ocean in Lagos, Eko Atlantic is attracting quite a number of international investors as awareness about the city’s potential grows among the international audience.
This was disclosed by Pierre Edde, Development Director at South Energyx Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group, and the developers of the ambitious multi-billion dollar project. He spoke at the 2016 Real Estate Unite Conference, an annual summit and one of Africa’s largest real estate events which attracted many dignitaries in Nigeria’s real estate sector.
According to him, international interest in the project has grown tremendously over the last few years, leading to expression of interests from around the globe, with many of the prospects looking forward to establishing their corporate offices at the city’s business district. He noted that such foreign investments in the city will be good for the economic development of the country, and is an answer to government’s FDI drive.
On ways to boost the real estate sector in the country, he advised government and financial institutions to work together towards improving the mortgage system, as it is critical to the growth of the sector. This, he added, is the only way the sector can improve on its contribution to the nation’s GDP.
“The total amount of mortgage loan in Nigeria is at an alarmingly low level of 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP. Banks alongside the government will need to revamp the mortgage system to afford individuals the ability to purchase homes, especially in the face of the current economic recession”, he said.
In his opening remarks, Sonnie Ayere, Founder and Group Chairman of Dunn Loren Merrifield, stressed the importance of the real estate sector to the Nigerian economy. “The Nigerian housing sector is the big elephant in the room that no one seems to acknowledge. The private sector and the government are key to subsidizing the sector and are a key force in executing the development of the housing sector,” he said.
The summit which had as theme, “Filling the GAPS in Real Estate, focused on propelling Nigeria’s economic development through strategic partnerships between public and private investors. Key issues in the sector were discussed, including policies, the mortgage system, as well as government and private sectors efforts to grow the sector and attract foreign direct investment into the country.