The Convener of the Africa International Housing Show (AHIS), formerly called the Abuja International Housing Show, Barr. Festus Adebayo has revealed that this year’s event (the 16th edition) promises to meet the expectations of all including participants, stakeholders, exhibitors, local and international housing experts and many more. In this interview provided for Viewpoint Housing Media, the real estate expert gave more reasons this year’s edition is highly anticipated. Excerpts:
Sir, can you reintroduce yourself and tell us what is expected of the upcoming edition of this housing show?
My name is Festus Adebayo, I’ve been coordinating the formerly known Abuja International Housing Show, now African Housing Show by the Grace 0f God for the last sixteen years. We changed the name following the request from other African countries who have been participating, some of them felt that why do we have to retain the name as Abuja International Housing Show for which they come every year, that the name should be changed to Africa because it belongs to everyone of them.
They also requested that the event be rotated from one African country to the other. So, the opportunity is that the one we always have in Abuja annually will continue to take place, meaning that the event will be held twice, with the other one in another African country. I’ve been told that we will be going to Rwanda by the first quarter of 2023 and after that, we will come back to Abuja again.
Now, what are the expectations? The focus for this year, we all know it’s a political season, we are going to look at what should be the way forward for affordable housing delivery as we move to 2023? On that note, we have invited a renowned international expert in housing, a lot of Nigerians have passed through her in America through real estate programme. She will deliver the lead paper on the way forward for the housing sector in Nigeria.
We expect a lot of political office holders to be at the event because, it will open a new way for them on how to achieve their housing agenda for Nigerians when they get into positions in 2023. We have been having different promises of delivering one million, two million houses, five hundred thousand houses every year, all these promises have not come to reality. We feel that something is wrong, therefore, we have to teach these politicians how to achieve their housing agenda as they come in 2023. That is one of the expectations.
Another expectation has to do with finance which is very key. Housing is capital intensive and on that note, this year, we will be having the number one capital market stakeholder in Nigeria, in the person of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, we will be having Onodele Koko of FMDQ, we will be having Mr. Idowu, we be having Kalu and many others who are the leaders of capital market in Nigeria. The focus is how do we use the capital market to boost housing finance in the country? We need to have increase in supply.
Apart from the capital market, we will also be looking at non-interest finance for housing. We will be having the Managing Directors of Lotus Capital, Sterling Bank, Jaiz Bank, Taj Bank, all of them will be coming together to profound their own true Islamic financing, SUKKUK towards affordable housing finance in Nigeria. These are our concern, even most of the houses that are available are not within the affordability range of the people that need these houses.
How do we solve these problems? Many of the developers also cannot get enough funds, most of them are looking at Federal Mortgage Bank. How many houses can the Federal Mortgage Bank finance? We will be looking at this through non-interest finance. Then, we will be looking at Federal Mortgage Bank as an organization, what do they need at present? Is it recapitalization or commercialization or privatization? We will be having sessions containing many international scholars from different countries and our country who have been in the system, who have seen the operations of Federal Mortgage Bank to set an agenda for the way forward.
Beyond that, we will be talking about PropTech. That is a new dawn that the young generation are talking about – PropTech – Property Technology in the Real Estate. We will have a beautiful one session on that aspect, powered by OctoFive Real Estate wherein, we will be having leaders in the sector on PropTech, startups who have done some things in the sector to come and tell us what is PropTech and how can we tap in? What can PropTech do to develop our sector? These are the expectations this year’s edition offers.
For those who are thinking of owning a home, we will be having not less than four hundred exhibitors who will be gathering together at different places for those seeking a home to meet. Those seeking for mortgage, we will be having not less than ten mortgage banks that they can interact and relate with. We have also created a lot of opportunities, platforms for those who want their problems solved through AHIS. We have AHIS Connect where you can sit down in your office and interact with exhibitors, you can schedule a meeting on matters that have to do with you, you need a house, land, finance. These are the expectations for AHIS 2022.
Sir, you talked about the fact that we are in a political year and the AHIS is known for certain agenda for government and policy makers and other stakeholders. Are there plans to directly bring in those seeking for elective offices next year, engage them to set agenda for housing when they eventually come into power?
We will set agenda for them. I can inform you that we will be having some of those people who have just won their primaries at the various states because states are very key when it comes to the issue of housing. We have our lands in the concurrent list and what we have observed is, much have not been done by these state governments.
So, now that we just finished an election, some of those governorship aspirants are warming up for the election in few months time, we are catching them young, bringing them in and teaching them why housing is important and how they can use housing to create employment in their states and also teach them how to achieve their housing agenda. If there is any of them who is coming and does not have a housing agenda, we will let them know how to have and achieve it. That is why we have created a session on that and will also give room for questions and answers. It’s going to be live streamed on our app and we are also going to have a live telecast on TVC.
Sir, you’ve always advocated for access to decent and affordable housing and as an advocate for the low and medium income earners, how can these set of persons key into the housing exhibition and conference?
For those who are workers, the bad news is that people working as civil servants for twenty years cannot afford to own a home, they cannot afford to buy a one bedroom, they can’t even afford to buy a two bedroom produced by the federal government and going for 7.2 million. And, for the African International Housing Show, we have been advocating for social housing, affordable housing, housing those that don’t have the capacity, maybe because of their income to own a house.
For this year 2022, we have created a session to look into how can these problems be solved by the government. We will be bringing people from Hbit, they have introduced fifty thousand housing this year alone. We are bringing their Managing Director to AHIS to teach our operators, policy makers how they did it and how we can do it. We will be bringing experts from Pakistan to come and show us how their mortgage system is working, how their mortgage refinancing is working. It is when all these things are working that we can have houses for the low income earners that African International Housing Show is very concerning about.
So, we are encouraging those people who feel they cannot own a home to please keep the date 25th to 28th of July and find your way to the International Conference Centre. It is free, all that you need to do is to register at the entrance. We all know the security situation in the country, it will be necessary for us to identify you and know that you really have the need for housing. You will come in and meet some mortgage banks and persons selling the houses.
Also, if you are a developer and looking for cheap building materials, we have a lot of building materials – home interiors, kitchen materials, building technologies, Dangote, Larfarge are not left out. We are concerned about the way forward to get affordable building materials for the development of affordable housing in Nigeria. All roads in Nigeria and from Africa lead to the International Conference Center. I’m aware a lot of hotels have been booked, I’m also aware that during that time, those in the transport sector will also be busy. So, I believe that from our records, we have assisted over 25,000 Nigerians to own their homes and we believe that we can do more again this year 2022 AHIS.
Just connect, we have an app AHIS Connect. You can register there, it can make it easy and faster for you. Then, when you get to the venue, you just pick your tag, instead of joining the queue saying you want to register. We are committed, housing is key. Provide housing for Nigerians, banditry and insecurity problems will reduce. Nobody has a house and would not want to have a family and when they have a family, they will not go into banditry. Give them a house, their productivity will change. That is what we are saying that in African International Housing Show, it is our commitment and it is what we will continue to do. Nigerians must be housed.
The Concept of Green House is increasingly relevant by the day, will it be part of what will come up at the show?
On the issue of Green Housing, we are working with International Finance Corporation (IFC) who are promoting it in the world today, we are partnering them. We have a session on green housing, we are also going to have a session on climate change which is creating a lot of problems. We are also going to discuss the issue of climate change on affordable housing. This is also going to be part of our session in this year’s African International Housing Show for four days of brainstorming and coming up with a forward at the end of the programme.