Creating Sustainable Real Estate Investment in Africa

Published 6 months ago
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Over the centuries, the existence of billionaires and business moguls is proof that real estate is a surefire way of achieving the kind of success that puts one in the comity of billionaires. Yet, few understand the dynamics of dabbling in real estate for investment purposes. Those who do know are also not willing to share that knowledge for a myriad of reasons. This is one of the many attributes that stand out with Dr Stephen Akintayo, Chairman, Gtext Holdings and founder of the Stephen Akintayo Foundation.

Seemingly young for his mammoth achievements, a recent award has garnered him renewed appeal in the global real estate and investment circles, but also, it has warranted a cursory look into his background and how he became the global real estate mogul he is today.

In shining a light on his life’s journey so far, one must spotlight his humble beginnings in Maiduguri, Nigeria where he had no access to the basic amenities of modern existence. This however did not restrict his ability to dream big, neither did it belay his personal achievements or the giant strides of his conglomerate, Gtext Holdings.

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Blessed with a unique vision and insight, Akintayo started his company 15 years ago with approximately $1. Unlike the average entrepreneur, he did not enter business with the mindset of simply making money. Instead, like a humanitarian, he went into business with the idea to revolutionize the real estate market and grow his Nigerian business into a global business model.

Today, he has achieved all this and more with a visible impact on countries around the world.

Not only does Gtext Holdings do business in West Africa, its operations range across Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

In the last five years, his vision has become even more structured with his ‘Vision 2035’ – an initiative that would see Gtext Homes, a subsidiary of Gtext Holdings, successfully build 25,000 green and smart homes by 2035. Already, the company has launched its 1,000 homes drive, with part of the proceeds channeled towards the support of SMEs through diverse initiatives.

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In line with ‘Vision 2035’ is the launch of the Jasper Estates in Lagos and Abuja last year, at the double event, realtors, young developers, marketers, clients, and those merely curious about the activities of Gtext Homes were taken on a tour of the two estates in Abuja and Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.

Of course, for many in Nigeria, it was an opportunity to see the green and smart housing promised by Akintayo. Currently selling the available sets of two-bedroom luxury terrace duplexes, Gtext has started the journey into the future of real estate in Africa, and the world is watching.

Unlike the myriad of real estate companies that litter the country with advertorial billboards and fliers with the promise of affordable housing in exchange for pittance and piecemeal payments, Akintayo keeps it real with his customers.

In an interview with journalists who embarked on a private tour at the open house event held at the Jasper Smart City Housing Scheme in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Akintayo stated that what Gtext brings to the global real estate market is accessible and sustainable housing as opposed to unachievable affordability. He revealed that affordability has nothing to do with private developers but everything to do with the government and the policies of the government.

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In several investment classes held over the years for budding investors and entrants into the real estate market, he has repeatedly shared his wealth of knowledge to ensure that others do not make avoidable business mistakes because of a lack of knowledge.

Today, Africans and others in the diaspora are getting a taste of the real estate market in the motherland, while those residents in Africa can also legally own property through legitimate means, all because of the functional business model Gtext operates.

Already a leading voice in the African real estate sector, he has begun to push for better systems that allow for promising entrants into the sector, including a recent call on government to initiate a first-time buyer policy in the real estate sector in Nigeria to bridge the country’s housing deficit, which is currently estimated to be about 20 million.

According to him, such a policy will allow both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government to stand as guarantors for anybody that requires a house, and developers can then provide between five to 10% on lenders’ first housing; the government would bring in 20%, and the lenders can bring in the remaining 70%.

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In many interviews granted in the last two years in African media, Akintayo’s Gtext has been described as the ‘future of sustainable housing’, and the African face of real estate investment.

As an investment coach, he repeatedly puts his money where his mouth is. Through one of Gtext Holdings’ subsidiaries, Gvest, he has rolled out a fractional investment opportunity in African real estate. A first of its kind in Africa, the plan is to raise $100 million through a digital cooperative model to build green and smart housing in some African countries, all in line with ‘Vision 2035’.

One of Dr Akintayo’s more popular quotes over the years is, “Money is always there to be made. The problem is the risk level, and the best way to overcome the risk factor is having a mentor in that field of business and a partner.”

For many of his mentees, these are words on marble that they have run with, and a sizeable number of them have returned with testimonials of excellence, testimonials that have become a plinth for the ‘Forbes Best of Africa Leading Investment Coach and Real Estate Mogul’ award to rest on.

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Forbes Best of Africa nominated and awarded him as a ‘Forbes Best of Africa Leading Investment Coach and Real Estate Mogul’ at an event which took place in July in London, after which he embarked on his Africa book signing tour for his ‘Billionaire Habits’ book series.

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