Afriland Properties Plc – Execution Perfected, Excellence Delivered

With its innovative services within property management, investment & development, Afriland Properties aim to improve lives and transform the African continent.

Afriland Properties Plc, the Real Estate arm of the Heirs Holdings Group, is a property management, investment and development company offering end-to-end services across the real estate value chain.

“We bring innovation to the real estate sector by drawing on our wealth of experience, new competencies and technology, to continuously reinvent ourselves and deliver excellent service to our clients,” says Managing Director and CEO Ms Uzo Oshogwe. “Our core values are ‘Enterprise, Execution and Excellence’.

To this end, Afriland employs a strong team of seasoned professionals with a variety of real estate specialisations, from architects and surveyors to financial experts. Ms Oshogwe herself is a recognised specialist in the field – apart from a range of qualifications and certifications that include a Real Estate Certificate in Real Estate, Leadership and Finance qualification from Harvard Business School, she also is an RICS accredited civil and commercial mediator, as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.

Summarising the company’s focus, she says: “We run by the tagline: ‘Execution Perfected … Excellence delivered’. Afriland’s purpose is to improve lives and transform the African continent by strategically driving long-term investments through real estate development, management and maintenance of world-class real estate offerings across Africa.”

The company’s principal business lines include Property Investments and Development; Property and Facilities Management; Project Supervision and Management; Property Acquisition and Sales; and Technical Consultancy and Advisory Services.

“The business development segment focuses on the management of the company’s existing and new property portfolio, with the aim of generating regular rental income and optimizing the value of these properties, in order to maximize their rental potentials. This segment is equally involved in the acquisition and sales of high-profile commercial and residential properties. Our strategy is to add at least one iconic property to our portfolio every 2 years,” Ms Oshogwe explains. “We also handle design and development management services for our clients.”

Empowering development

Afriland strives to integrate environmental and social standards with its business strategies and operations and adopts sustainability policies to ensure the growth of the company for the ultimate benefit of all stakeholders. Where possible, environmentally-friendly measures are applied in the projects, such as the installation of lighting that is sensor-operated to conserve energy, sensor-operated taps to conserve water, installation of solar panels, as well as the use of non-toxic paints.

Being aware that staff are its core asset, the company has a robust infrastructure in place to support its workforce, with access to training and career advancement available for all. Externally, Afriland has been engaged in a number of life-changing initiatives. “Our commitment to corporate social responsibility stems from the belief that we are a part of the communities we serve. Giving back is a fundamental aspect of our company’s identity and values,” affirms Ms Oshogwe.

Apart from recent contributions towards Covid-19 related relief funds and its support for youth through the Congress of Nigerian Youth vehicle amongst others, Afriland’s CSR contribution is mainly through the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

“Afriland supports the programme to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries over a 10-year period with a $100m commitment,” explains Ms Oshogwe.  “The goal is to create 1 million jobs through these entrepreneurs and to contribute $10 billion in revenue to the African economy.”

“This initiative affords Afriland the opportunity to be part of an audacious transformation agenda for Africa. This is the 7th anniversary of the programme, which launched in 2015. Through this partnership, we have so far empowered over 9,000 women and men across the African continent, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication, and promoting job creation.”

The smart approach

The physical imprint of Afriland’s commitment can be seen in its projects. A flagship example is the company’s own headquarters, residing in a renovated, dilapidated but structurally sound building – the iconic 7-floor office complex known as Afriland Towers – located in the former business district on Lagos Island, made into a world-class, fully serviced open space office complex.

“The grand opening of this office took place on 28 February 2020. The Lagos State Governor, His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Olu chaired the occasion amongst other dignitaries, including the Oba of Lagos and champions of Industries,” says Ms Oshogwe. “Another recent development is the Heirs Towers, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, a tastefully built 7-floor office building, simply described as an edifice that beautifully dots the landscape of the island.”

The company is also set to contribute toward solving the housing shortage in the country and will be embarking on the development of a housing estate in a location in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, a site covering approximately 35,000 m2, as well as the development of a 42-unit Afriland mall which is planned in one of the major cities in Nigeria, to name just a few projects that are planned to be launched in 2021 as the market is expected to slowly pick up.

Ms Oshogwe explains that when compared to other property developers and managers, Afriland offers some unique advantages: “We have achieved optimisation and commercialisation of our property portfolio through short-term and long-term leases of both built-up developments and bare land. We at a time embraced the short-let model at a higher premium at some of our prime properties. We build smart. We understand the concept of the cost of funds, so we use our funds wisely. We identify a need, establish our clients ‘requirements and build to specification. We deliver to exceed our client’s expectations.”

She further reflects that the importance of the real estate industry to the nation’s economy has been overlooked for many years but this seems to be changing. “Provision of housing for the Nigerian citizen is gaining traction. The huge housing deficit in Nigeria opens up an investment opportunity for the government to partner with the private sector in optimising much idle land and many properties scattered across the country for the provision of decent and affordable homes for its citizens.”

“Local investors can also be encouraged to tap into related initiatives through tax waivers/breaks and to embrace local production of building materials that are currently imported into the country. This will provide jobs and reduce the cost of construction considerably, both positively impacting the economy,” she points out in conclusion.

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