New Telegraph Online, March 24th, 2015,
By: Dayo Ayeyemi
Real estate experts and investors across the globe have lauded the development of Eko Atlantic City, describing it as a pinnacle real estate project in Africa. Speaking during the MIPIM’s event in Cannes, France, experts, according to a statement, said the project has unveiled to the world the positives of sub-Saharan Africa other than all the normal issues of conflict, corruption and fraud. Chairman of JLL for sub- Saharan Africa, Mark Bradford, noted that it was an eyeopening to see the scale and ambition of the Eko Atlantic city, noting that the project has become a marketing tool for the potential of real estate in Nigeria.
He said: “It’s the pinnacle really of ambition on the continent and definitely something that more people should get to learn about.” According to the Managing Director of Projects Ducain Forbes Limited, John Okonkwo, with the project and many others ongoing , “international momentum is now in Africa’s favour.”
He noted that it was one of the few times he was seeing people focusing on the positives of sub-Sahara Africa other than all the normal issues. “Eko Atlantic, is in part showcasing what is, possible in Africa. It showcases that very large ticket investments can be done successfully at an international quality standard in Africa,” Okonkwo said.
This was the first time that the organisers of MIPIM focussed on the investment opportunities in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), and West Africa (Angola, Ghana and Nigeria).
The developers and planners of Eko Atlantic city in Lagos, Nigeria, had presented a specialised case study of the project to an audience of real estate experts and investors at MIPIM. MIPIM is the world’s leading property market that is held every year at Cannes in the South of France.
The fourday event brought together the most influential players from all property sectors – office, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, logistics and industrial, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.
The workshop was designed as an interactive ‘How to’ toolkit for anyone looking at the region: Investors, developers, brokers, consultants, service firms and hotel and tourism operators.
During his presentation on: ‘Sub-Saharan Africa – Let There Be Light’, Vice Chairman of South Energy Nigeria Limited, Promoters of Eko Atlantic, Mr. Ronald Chagoury Jr., said that it was time for international companies to take a much closer look at investment potential in sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria.
He told the audience that if they could get the perception issues for Nigeria and look at the market, they stood the chance to gain more. He said: ‘If you can just get over some of the perception issues for Nigeria and if you can look at the market as it actually is, you will automatically have an advantage over everyone else.
“Nigeria is now the continent’s largest economy and has a rapidly growing population. We have a need for everything and the key ingredients for success are being presentconsistency and quality.”
Chagoury mentioned that the real-estate sector was desperately in short of housing and that Nigeria has a shortage of 16 million homes with a shortfall of five million homes in Lagos alone. He pointed out that Eko Atlantic city, which encompasses 10 million square metres of land reclaimed from the sea, would become home to 250,000 residents with 150,000 commuters.