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Investors have $4.5bn green building opportunity to latch on—IFC

Investors and property developers in Nigeria have, at least, $4.5 billion investment opportunity to latch on within the next seven years to 2025, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has projected.

This is the largest opportunity the corporation sees in Sub-Saharan Africa apart from South Africa, and assures it is here in Nigeria to help investors with technical and even financing solutions.

Building green is the ‘new normal’ in the building industry at the moment because of its numerous advantages and benefits. Green buildings are smart buildings that guarantee about 35 percent lower carbon emissions and decrease in water use by 30 to 50 percent.

Green buildings become all the more desirable considering that global water consumption has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and, in developing countries, this will increase by another 50 percent by 2025.

“By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could live under water stress conditions”, according to IFC

Green buildings are also 50 to 90 percent cost saving in waste generation; they are more comfortable, healthier, return higher productivity rates and have a higher resale value.

“Building green leads to reduction of operating and energy costs (lower utility bills), higher valued real estate and profits (greater return on investment), improvement of employee productivity (reducing sick building syndrome), extended life of buildings, optimization of life-cycle economic performance and less vulnerability to fluctuating energy prices”, explains Chii Akporji, executive director at Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).

But IFC says there is bad news which is that there are few green buildings in this country. This means that investors have a large green field to play on. So far in Nigeria today, there are only two or three known and certified green buildings—The Heritage Place, The Wings Towers and Nestoil Towers.

The corporation insists building green is impossibility, but something that is doable. “Green and affordable are not tradeoffs; both are possible and we have a large body of experience to show that”, said Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager, who spoke at workshop on green building in Lagos.

“We do not need to do anything drastic; buildings are being built as we speak and financing is being arranged for the next generation of buildings. What we need is a way to put buildings onto a greener path with solutions that are sensible to the Nigerian context”, Lore added.

IFC in collaboration with NMRC launched an EDGE programme in Lagos recently. EDGE which stands for Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies is part of IFC’s creating markets strategy.

According to Lore, EDGE is part of a holistic intervention to steer construction in rapidly urbanizing economies onto a more low-carbon path. It’s an example of IFC’s commitment to creating markets that are competitive, sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

The corporation has a long history of investing in green buildings and its global investment portfolio is over $3 billion, out of which $386 million was invested in Sub-Saharan Africa through its own account and syndicated loans.

“We have expanded that reach through the EDGE programme, which now celebrates more than two million square metres of certified space globally,”Lore disclosed, explaining that EDGE is an online platform, a green building standard and a certification system for nearly 140 countries, tailored for emerging markets, and taking into account local context such as Nigeria.



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