Ibiene V.A. Ogolo

Ibiene V.A. Ogolo

Chief Responsibility Officer, Eko Development Company Ltd
Daniel Kamau

Daniel Kamau

Managing Director, Royal HaskoningDHV
As Lagos continues to grow, cities within the city, such as Eko Atlantic, are taking on a more distinct role and driving infrastructure investment.

Will the success of the Azuri Peninsula depend in large part of the success of Eko Atlantic City?

IBIENE V. A. OGOLO At the end of the day, the Azuri Peninsula is a subset of the Eko Atlantic City. The success of the Azuri Peninsula has much more to do with how the overall Nigerian economy performs. We are all parts of a machine that must work in sync. However, it is true that from a micro and macro perspective, Azuri Peninsula and EKO Atlantic will work better if they are in sync with each other and can complement each other.

What is the potential for “cities within cities" projects in Lagos in the coming years?

DANIEL KAMAU There is definitely potential but the question is how to develop them. There is a philosophical debate about the correct way to develop; should the money be invested into older cities to regenerate and revive infrastructure or should there be a mushrooming of new development? There are also questions raised on whether these new cities benefit only the wealthy or whether they will in fact benefit a broader segment of society. Some developers realize they need to service more than the elite and integrate public transport and lower-cost housing as opposed to only catering to the wealthy. The important thing to realize in a city like Lagos is that a development such as Eko Atlantic can in fact catalyze the improvement of infrastructure around it. The developer has the goal to build a modern city, which can act as a catalyst for the further development and modernization of infrastructure in surrounding areas, in addition to creating a large number of much-needed job opportunities.

What effects will falling real estate prices have on the Azuri Peninsula and Eko Atlantic City?

IVAO One thing this recession has brought with it is that mediocre players will be phased out of the picture over time. Only the strongest will survive in this market under these conditions. Only those who understand the dynamics of construction and tie it in with the perception and demand of the end user are able to continue in this space. The prices of real estate have fallen mainly because in most situations, quality never matched the price. Now, we have customers who are more informed, have multiple needs with limited resources, and know that they want what they are paying for and are savvier than ever before. Now, there are many empty developments; however, there are also other sectors of the market where development demand is growing. The real estate sector, unlike other major sectors, has subsets of the market that are relatively independent of each other. The low-income and luxury segments are as far away from each other as the sun is from the core of the earth because luxury is a feel-good factor, not a necessity.

How attractive is Nigeria for international companies?

DK From an infrastructure perspective, the number, size, and type of major infrastructure projects in Nigeria compared to the rest of Africa demonstrate that it is in a league of its own. It is not easy to find massive projects such as the Eko Atlantic City project or the Dangote oil refinery elsewhere in Africa. These are massive infrastructure projects that are only happening in Nigeria. From an infrastructure perspective, it is the place to be. The same applies to the retail sector, which is booming on the back of the large consumer market in Nigeria. Companies that are not in Nigeria are excluded from a significant portion of opportunity on the continent. Nigeria needs infrastructure, and the government is committed to realizing it. With oil prices increasing, there is more money available to spend on infrastructure. In addition, in the private sector we see clients seeking to expand projects or resume greenfield projects they had parked in 2016. We will not see the 2014 growth levels just yet; however, things are heading in the right direction.