Rwanda: Global Real Estate Guru Sees Potential in Rwanda Market

28 January 2020

A viable real estate eco-system development requires strong public private partnership, industry players were tipped on Monday.

This call was made during a meeting in Kigali that brought together different stakeholders in the real estate industry in Rwanda and the president of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABC), Walid Moussa.

The meeting attracted industry players such as property developers, financial institutions, officials from Rwanda Housing Authority, property managers, architects and the academia, among others.

It was organized by Century Real Estate, a local real estate firm with an aim of collectively looking at how the federation can strengthen its base on the African continent by among others, establishing its chapter in Rwanda.

Currently, the federation has four local chapters; Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia.

Also part of the meeting was Joseph Akhigbe, who heads the federation on the African continent.

Prevailing challenges

According to Charles Haba, the Managing Director of Century Real Estate, besides the sector's emerging opportunities, there are challenges that still need to be addressed for a viable ecosystem.

"Africa is currently lagging behind (membership) and there is need to grow FIABC in Africa so that they (Africans) can be exposed to the opportunities that come along with being a member of the federation," he said.

FIABC, the biggest federation of real estate professionals in the world, aims at building synergy and developing business opportunities in the sector.

Haba also observes that the local sector is inhibited by challenges including lack of skills, exposure and capital know-how, among others.

"Rwanda being an emerging economy and specifically the real estate ecosystem being a potential sector, our biggest opportunity to host FIABC is that it will help cover those gaps as well as set up a Rwandan Chapter of the international federation."

This, he added, will also enable the local market to learn from mature markets, basing on what they have achieved thus far.

Public Private Partnership

Moussa, who is on a three-day visit in the country urged the real estate developers to embrace Private Public Partnership in order to have a vibrant sector.

He pointed out that the government should emphasise partnership among real estate stakeholders and the entire property value chain.

"Public entities should parallel their work with private institutions and associations to always work together and try to establish the best ground or foundation for both foreign and local investors."

He also called for consultation of the private developers by governments before formulating any policy concerning the industry, saying that it is the private sector that is always on the ground.

"Because when the government plays that role alone, it will end up clashing with the private sector. Private and public partnership should be encouraged to create policy regulations and laws for a vibrant real estate market," Moussa stressed.

Moussa, who toured a number of real estate projects in Kigali yesterday including Vision City Project in Gacuriro, said that the Rwandan real estate sector has the potential to attract investors.

"If the mortgage market is vibrant, and there is security in the country then an investor will feel the urge of doing business in that country, hence ease of doing business".

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