Lafarge Egypt calls for cost-effective sustainable solutions to ensure the social housing sector is one of mutually beneficial returns

Big 5

Hussein Mansi, CEO of Lafarge Egypt discusses the challenges and latest milestones in the housing sector at this year’s Euromoney Conference

Cairo, Egypt, 24 September – As part of its commitment to the Egyptian market and efforts to promote its “Build Egypt 2030” campaign, Lafarge was one of this year’s sponsors for the Euromoney Egypt 2014 conference. Attended by a select group of government officials, company executives, and industry leaders, the two day event addressed a number of important economic issues.

Lafarge participated in a session which focused on housing, construction, and real estate, where panelists discussed the importance of real estate financing, the use of technology to build green cities, and the importance of using environmentally friendly materials.

“Adapting to new uses in technology is one of the current challenges we are facing in the development sector,” said Hussein Mansi, CEO of Lafarge Egypt. “As part of our Building Egypt 2030 initiative, Lafarge seeks to build more durable cities using environmentally friendly materials that reduce construction costs and offer modern solutions in line with today’s global standards.”

Speakers in the session agreed that the action of the Egyptian government is encouraging the real estate sector growth, specifically in the social housing segment. Mansi highlighted great opportunities for the private sector to invest in building social houses to help the government meet the increasing demand. He noted that demand for social housing in Egypt is greater than demand for expensive luxury houses as the latter is currently in the surplus numbers and growing.

“A vision on social housing projects should be set forth as part of companies’ investment systems, not of their social responsibility initiatives,” added Mansi. “There is a need for cost-effective, sustainable solutions, not just free financing through grants.  We need to figure out a way to ensure developers’ costs are met from beginning to end with social housing projects so that more parties are willing to participate in this sector.”

Other panelists in the session included Sherif El Diwany, Executive Director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies; Ian Albert, Regional Director, MENA, Colliers International; Omar Bahgat, Executive Director of Development, New Giza; Hassan Hussein, Chairman and Managing Director, El Taamir Mortgage Finance Co.; Basil Ramzy, Chief Development Officer, SODIC; and Karim Sultan, Marketing Director, Dorra Group.

Further comments during the panel covered three positive moves by the government this year within the housing and real estate sectors including the Central Bank’s initiative to support more social housing developments, the amendment of the real estate mortgage law, and the amendment to the investment funds policy.  The Central Bank’s initiative exceeds the total investments of private real estate companies, which do not go above LE5 billion. Real estate finance is now available to everyone, serving the interests of the poor and middle classes. This initiative also includes the implementation of the real estate mortgage system.