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FG Advocates Smart Technology for Efficient Housing

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Federal Housing Authority, FHA, has called on stakeholders in the housing sector to embrace smart technology for efficient housing delivery in Nigeria.

Ashafa said this at the Real Estate Discussions and Awards Ceremony organised by Thinkmint Nigeria, sponsored by Octo5 Holdings, Federal Housing Authority Mortgage Bank, Homework Development and Properties, Urban Shelter and Purple in Lagos.

The event, tagged “Real Estate Markets Signals in Africa: Trends and Opportunities”, brought together real estate experts, government representatives, international institutions and investors in the real estate sector.

He said that current technology is predominantly “brick and mortar” and that there is an urgent need to look to more viable alternatives to reduce costs while enhancing efficiency and minimising environmental impact.

Ashafa said the world is fast embracing “smart” technology and Africa cannot afford to be left behind.

The presence of technology will influence business and building processes as well as consumer behaviour.

He noted that Housing, though one of the basic needs of man, is, however, not only shelter.

“It also facilitates holistic development within a planned economy. Safe, efficient, secure and affordable housing leads to a better quality of life for citizens.

“Real estate investment is the pedestal for economic growth and development. It is the bedrock upon which many countries have attained a vibrant economy,” Ashafa said.

Ashafa further stressed that more than ever before, the real estate sector remains the asset of choice for investment.

A boost in growth is expected despite COVID-19 headwinds which will provide opportunities in the various subsectors.

Although he noted that the major challenge will be the third wave of COVID-19, he added that “We trust, however, that human resilience will ultimately triumph.”

He went further to encourage investors deciding to invest in Africa’s real estate market to explore the potential for local partnerships.

“It is important that investors explore the potential for local partnerships. Not only may this be required by legislation, but such a partnership could also bring local expertise to help identify and overcome difficulties in doing business in the local environment.

“Partners can also help to spot potential changes in policy, shifts in trends, allowing foreign investors with a limited local presence to make informed decisions on future real estate investments.

“Real estate markets work best when authorities take the right policy decisions, the other stakeholders/players play their role and there is good interaction between the two sides.”

In his presentation, Oumar Sylla, the Director, Regional Office for Africa, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, said that various towns in Africa faces pronounced urban planning and management capacity challenges which may also constrain COVID-19 responses.

He said the need for a new polices around local COVID-19 and urban health management communication strategies, multi-stakeholder community engagement, map and update data on vulnerable groups to ensure evidence-based support and integrated urban and local area data management systems is imperative.

“We need policies that will target informal settlements through tailored measures, provide COVID 19 tailored health care services to informal settlements, establish participatory data collection systems in informal settlements, study the gender and urban poor profiles in slums and informal settlements and design recovery and development responses, including women and girls, migrants, people with disability.

“Through participatory planning approach, design basic street layout to improve the connectivity within neighborhoods.

“Develop informal settlement regeneration and restructuration plans to be integrated into national priorities and strategies to address root causes of vulnerability,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Imelda Usoro-Olaoye, Managing Partner of Thinkmint Nigeria, organisers of Real Estate Discussions and Awards (REDA) said that the programme is a celebration of innovation, Leadership, and Growth of the Real Estate and Property Industry.

“The award is set to honour real estate game changers, companies, products, and personalities that have made contributions to the development of the sector,” she said.

Among the awardees at the event were Lifetime Achievement Award to the growth of the Nigerian Real Estate industry, won by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola;

Real Estate Woman of the Year, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Shelter, Saadiya Aliyu; Special Recognition Award for the Growth & Development of Nigeria Real Estate industry, Chief Executive Officer, The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Kehinde Ogundinmu, and Luxury Project of the year, Azuri Towers by Eko Atlantic, among others.

 

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