PHOTO: Bolaji Edu, Broll Nigeria CEO.
The deployment of technology to make Nigeria’s real estate sector more investable, increase liquidity to drive greater home ownership, will be a major talking point at this year’s West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) Summit taking place this week on 15 and 16 November in Lagos.
For PropTech pioneer, Abdulhakeem Sadiq, the founder and chief executive officer of new market entrant, ZAMA, the increasing role and use of Proptech is a boon for the regional real estate sector.
“Proptech is slowly gaining momentum in developed markets, and we feel a developing market like Nigeria can learn and re-calibrate itself for seasoned investors.”
Having spent years in research and development to refine the residential & commercial focussed ZAMA platform, Sadiq believes that their multiphase tech solution has the potential to enhance and shape the Nigerian industry drastically.
Says Sadiq, “We have been working for about two years to research the local market in preparation to launch a modern and innovative web and mobile platform for Buyers, Sellers and Agents in the Nigerian real estate space.”
Designed as a one-stop platform to bring cohesion to the market; the product is an example of how tech-savvy African entrepreneurs and experts are harnessing global smarts, tech and efficiencies to create lucrative opportunities by solving historical economic challenges.
“We reached out to Google to grant us access to a back-end API to edit their map and integrate to our platform to literally put properties on the map. It was an investment we knew was necessary for the market and subscribed for it. Currently, the platform is focused only on Lagos with the goal to launch in other local markets in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.”
Inspired by billion-dollar valuated international firms like Zillow, Zoopla and Rightmove, Sadiq and his team have used their know-how and industry experience to suite the unique Nigerian Real estate sector.
As he explains, “Our market has its peculiar problems and introducing a process driven technology would greatly enhance the validity of property valuation for instance, or even in the process finding a reputable agent to work with to help sell and buy properties.”
Before developing, Zama, Sadiq spent five years with global property consultancy JLL in Dubai and Nigeria.
This experience working for one of the world’s pioneering and increasingly data-driven property firms provides him with a specific and global view of the local property sector.
“It taught me how to look at the property from an investment point of view and enabled me with the right training and skills to advise various clients in all markets around the world. Nigeria is my home, and I would love to help change and improve the way the real estate industry functions.”
And while expertise, insights and market-leading tech are integral to making Zama successful, Sadiq has invested strategically in brand development and by partnering with the region’s most high-profile real estate conference – WAPI – to launch the ZAMA platform.
“It was collaborative, and together with our London design firm, we came up with the name: Zama. In Hausa, a local dialect, it means a “place to stay” but is also designed to spell NEMA – a local term meaning to search. The combination of which means “searching for a place to stay.”
Adding that the annual property conference is pivotal for the development of the sector as it allows industry high profile networking.
“I believe WAPI has done a good job at bringing together industry professionals to discuss challenges and opportunities in the industry. Platforms like WAPI also help build relationships and as far as I’m concerned, real estate is about relationships; the rest is just details.”
And as WAPI provides the industry’s largest and concentrated location to meet; WAPI’s host Kfir Rusin is confident that ZAMA will be a force in the Nigerian market.
“We’re honoured that Zama’s big coming out party is at WAPI. Abdulhakeem and his team have done significant work, and I know long-term that ZAMA will drive the real estate sector by providing more data, transparency and a powerful platform for industry players to come together.
Adding that, “I know a number of our stakeholders are very interested in the ZAMA, and I know there will be a lot of discussions around his game changing platform.”
As Sadiq ends, “Tech and data, are fundamental to growing the sector and driving more investment and liquidity. The local and international market is hungry for data! With our platform, we will provide relevant data to aid decision making and guide users with relevant insights to make informed decisions on property while also connecting them to professionals who can help.”
By Marc Philips