Afriland Properties Plc – Building the Future of Africa
After an eventful year, we return to Afriland Properties Plc to look at all they have achieved under difficult circumstances.
2021 was an eventful one for Afriland Properties Plc. While the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic presented challenges, it also presented a bouquet of opportunities.
“Lifestyles have changed. Working models have evolved. Businesses like ours, have had to innovate or risk becoming extinct,” says Uzo Oshogwe, Managing Director of Afriland Properties Plc. “We are in a dynamic and ever-changing industry and Afriland has evolved and become even more agile to keep up with the pace of the real estate industry. Our vision is to be Africa’s leading real estate company that creates long-term value for all stakeholders and so we must continue to evolve as an organization, organically to ensure we achieve all our goals.”
Over the last year, Afriland has hit a number of milestones. The firm’s portfolio consists of one of the largest landbanks in Africa and its services play a key role in impacting lives and driving inclusion across the African continent.
“One of our most important achievements is the development of Heirs Towers, an imposing edifice in the corporate hub of Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island in Lagos,” Oshogwe tells us. “As dedicated project managers, we defied the odds to bring together all the elements required to deliver this project to our client in record time, despite considerable challenges brought on by the Covid Pandemic. This edifice was commissioned by the Lagos State Governor, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Chairman of Heirs Holding Group, Mr Tony Elumelu.”
The pandemic saw all businesses grind to a halt at some point, while currency fluctuations affected project costs, so the completion of this project meant a great deal to Afriland and its stakeholders. Afriland also completed residential development in highbrow Ikoyi Lagos, The Owena Residences. Like Heirs Towers, it was impacted by economic factors initiated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Defined by Resilience
“A major trait that distinguishes us in the real estate sector and kept us going is resilience,” Oshogwe says. “Quality service delivery is the hallmark of what we do. Our x-factor is the quality we bring to the table. This is facilitated by a purpose-driven mentality as well as the application of our team of experienced professionals who understand the business of Real Estate. Liquidity management, cost management, technological innovation, and a very pragmatic approach to funding are just some of the many strategies we implement to ensure that we remain competitive and that our standards are not compromised but are continuously improving.”
Despite the challenges of 2021, Afriland retained its workforce, even when many companies downsized to accommodate the effects of the pandemic.
“We are passionate about our people and their welfare, and this earned us the ‘Great place to work in Nigeria’ award recognition,” Oshogwe says.
There have still been challenges to overcome, however, including access to “development-friendly” finance in a market where most available funds are short-term loan facilities with high-interest rates.
“It is a major reason why the housing deficit in Nigeria remains very high as developers put premium prices on their developments because of the cost of development,” Oshogwe says. “Foreign exchange fluctuation has also been a major challenge for us as an organization. Again, it is a situation not peculiar to us. The prices of Building Materials and Fittings that are mostly imported are impacted negatively by the erratic nature of the dollar.”
A Strong Line-up
Afriland responds to these challenges by approaching its projects with a solution-oriented mindset. Flexibility and adaptability are key skills the company has embraced in a dynamic commercial space.
“Resource management is one of the hallmarks of Afriland Properties Plc. With a portfolio size of over N12 billion and one of the largest land banks in Nigeria, we are very intentional about how we manage our finances to ensure we can duly appropriate funds to projects when needed and as when due,” says Oshogwe. “A technique we employ to hedge against cost variations is to extend reasonable advance payments to our contractors to cover the upfront payment of lead items. This way, contractors are enabled to procure materials and fittings upfront and are protected from FX fluctuations. This cost hedging strategy ensures that our projects are completed as when due; within the contract project cost and that our stakeholders get a good value on their investments.”
It is an outlook that has positioned Afriland well for the future. Afriland Properties Plc is committed to providing innovative solutions, from residential developments to high-end office developments and property and facilities management services.
Technology has become the driver of modern-day transactions, and Afriland is launching a facility management-focused mobile app, Afriserve, to facilitate this.
“The product upon its launch will look to bridge the gap between soft and hard facility management services and the clients who need them,” says Oshogwe. “We intend to take advantage of the demand for timely and quality service to carve a niche in the sector. As an authority in the facility management space, this service has the potential to become a game-changer in the FM industry.”
“We have a whole lot lined up,” Oshogwe says. “Our track record speaks for itself and as a result, we have built a tradition of trust to deliver quality service to our clientele. We are bringing into the market, diverse real estate offerings that will make a real difference in the Real Estate sector in Nigeria.”
For residential developments, Afriland has commenced construction of The Rouge by Afriland, a premium, luxury residential development in the heart of Old Ikoyi, Lagos. It has also begun building Iris Court, a residential project located in Ikeja, Lagos State, built for the modern-day professional. The company’s portfolio also includes the gated community, Afriland Estate, and two multipurpose developments- The Emporium, a state-of-the-art multipurpose complex located in Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, and Afriland Complex in Abule Egba, a suburban area in Lagos, Nigeria.
“We are very excited about all the developments in the pipeline and what we intend to achieve in the next 12-18 months,” Oshogwe tells us. “We believe that through our long-term investments in Real Estate, we are building an African-owned business, which creates employment, economic prosperity, and social wealth that will transform the African continent. In all we do at Afriland Properties Plc, we do not lose sight of our purpose, which is to improve lives through our investments in the development, management, and maintenance of world-class Real Estate offerings across Africa.”