Real Estate, as well as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have been identified by the UN as some of the fastest growing sectors in the Nigerian economy. Mr Patrick Osakwe, Head, Poverty and Trade Department, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), made this known in an interview in Lagos.
Osakwe said that real estate, as well as information and communications technology, in conjunction with the financial services sector have the capacity to drive economic growth, if well harnessed. He spoke against the backdrop of the recent Annual Report on African Development by UNCTAD, which has been presented to the public in 15 African countries.
“In Nigeria, the fastest growing sectors would be real estate, as well as Information and Communications technology. That is peculiar to Nigeria, among others, and these sectors are suffering from a level of deficit that needs to be addressed, to maximize their potential. According to the UNCTAD development report, Africa’s fastest growing services sub-sectors are transport, storage and communications, which grew at 5.8 per cent, while others like hotel, retail and wholesale trade grew at 5.0 per cent.
“The services sector accounted for 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of most African countries. “The report actually focused on the services sector as an untapped sector, which has contributed immensely to the GDP of most African countries in the last five years,” he said. Part of the report stated that access to reliable sources of energy is low in Africa, with about 74 per cent of the population without access to electricity.
The report also said that the cost of closing the energy gap would cost up to $93 billion (N18.32 trillion) annually by 2030, which has caused a setback in the growing sectors like real estate and ICT. Real estate experts asserted that the population of people living in the suburbs of major cities like Lagos and Abuja would increase by 50 per cent by 2025.
According to them, the reasons for the population increase was huge rural-urban migration and the poor living conditions like lack of portable water and huge rent expenses.