Subscribe
SIGN UP   |   LOG IN

A DRIVING FORCE

Nigeria 2016 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ronald Chagoury Jr., Vice Chairman of South Energyx Limited, on the real estate investment environment in the country and the Eko Atlantic project's role in driving Lagos forward.

Ronald Chagoury Jr.
BIOGRAPHY
Ronald Chagoury Jr. is the Vice Chairman of South Energyx Nigeria Limited, the developers and city planners of Eko Atlantic. He has been actively involved in Eko Atlantic since the start of land reclamation in 2008. As a board member he was responsible for developing early stages of the project as well as promoting the concept and development of Eko Atlantic at both the regional and international levels. He is behind some of the city’s key developments including the Marina District of Eko Atlantic, an international hospital, international school and luxury shopping center. He is also responsible for directing marketing and communications strategy. He also supports group efforts to build strategic partnerships with developers and financiers aimed at creating SPVs for landmark developments within the project development area.

How has Chagoury Group been involved with the Eko Atlantic project and the Nigerian economy in general?

The group is linked with the evolution of the country. We have been in Nigeria for more than 40 years, which means we understand how this country has grown and changed. Because we have seen where the country and this city have come from, it is logical that it would become a financial center for Sub-Saharan Africa, and then eventually the continent. Therefore, Eko Atlantic was a logical step to develop real estate because there is a huge shortage in Nigeria today. That shortage is only going to increase over time, so it made sense to opt for a high-density city with high-rise buildings and the infrastructure that comes with it. By doing this we are setting a new standard for Nigeria and the region, and providing a platform for future growth.

What are the implications of the 2015 election for Eko Atlantic?

There has been political stability in Nigeria for much longer than just this latest phase. This election was a positive point and the transition was successful, but even the last few elections have been peaceful. For us, it is business as usual. Election years tend to be exceptional in the sense that we do see a different level of activity in the country, but other than that it is the same. We have seen a lot of strong interest from overseas investors since the election. Many people that are looking in from a distance perceived more political instability than existed. After the elections, we saw a strong rise in interest from overseas companies, funds, and investors almost overnight.

What sets Eko Atlantic apart as a unique investment opportunity?

First, we have already seen a strong evolution. In some cases values have already doubled since we first started selling land. That is a success in itself, and prices are continuing to rise. Many of the reports coming out show that there is a sharp increase in the middle, upper-middle, and high-income brackets in Nigeria. This opens the door to a lot of opportunities in real estate, particularly the need for the correct supply of retail property for the current demographic. The same applies to the other aspects of real estate. Looking further ahead as real estate develops, Nigeria is going to become a strong economy in the next 15 years with a growing population and a potential GDP of $1.5 trillion. In the last 10 years we have seen a sharp increase in real estate development in Lagos and that is only going to pick up over the next 15 years. Shanghai and Dubai are examples of the speed at which development can take place, and we will see similar growth in Lagos. Also this is a country where an almost non-existent mortgage industry is nonetheless developing quickly. All of this is compelling evidence in favor of Eko Atlantic.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

In Nigeria and worldwide, 2015 has been a difficult year. Problems in terms of commodities, oil prices, and Ebola all had an impact. The elections also affected business in the sense that there has been some level of waiting. Now post-election, we will start to see new policies start coming out for the country and more investment coming back into Nigeria. As a result I think 2016 will be a much busier year than 2015, which is good for the country and will be good for Eko Atlantic.


 

Want to read the full interview?

Purchase

this article now for GBP9.99

or
Subscribe Today

to access this article and all
our other premium content

Already have an account with us?

Forgot User ID / Password

or connect with

LinkedIn