Wall Street Financier Tackles Affordable Housing
From Wall Street to building hundreds of thousands of homes in Africa, Anders Lindquist is deploying Swedish Tech and decades of high stakes financing to addressing the challenge of affordable housing.
As one of several high-profile international speakers at the East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit on 10 & 11 April, Lindquist is the Co-founder of EchoStone Housing, an international developer seeking opportunities in East Africa.
“As a pioneer in their field, with a proven method of funding and unique technology, EchoStone represents a new class of developers and investors entering the regional market,” says EAPI’s host Kfir Rusin.
Adding that, “The Pan-African real estate investment landscape is shifting and we are witnessing growing private and institutional investment appetite for affordable housing, a case in point is Actis’, one of the world’s most significant emerging market private equity investors, recently announced multibillion-shilling deal.”
EchoStone’s business model is built on the establishment of a Joint Venture (JV) with a local and experienced developer, which then engages the State via the Public Private Partnership framework.
Currently, the firm is earmarked to develop more than 200,000 homes in Lagos, Nigeria and came to regional attention after they delivered a two-bedroom flat in just 14 days in 2018 from scratch.
While the timeline is impressive, Lindquist highlight’s that formula driven approach, tech and people enables the firm to develop at a truly massive and exponential scale.
“We use a specific formula for rapid development of communities, and for example, if we placed nine machines, 96 sets of forms and 1,500 people on site, we could develop up to 330 homes of 64m2 size every two weeks.”
The ability to develop rapidly is a byproduct of years of experience and investing millions of dollars in specialised tech, comments Lindquist. “Our tech and computerised concrete factory, enables us to build 65m (high) and 200m (wide) units,” explains Lindquist.
In comparison to existing building methodology, EcoStone’s assembly line approach is reminiscent of one of Sweden’s most high-profile tech exports, Volvo.
Like the automotive icon famed for its design and safety standards, EchoStone’s designs are aesthetically pleasing, dignified, sustainable and resilient.
As a socially conscious and pioneering global firm focused on solving one of the world’s biggest challenges, EchoStone’s model prioritises sustainability and partnership between the public and private sectors.
“This sustainable driven approach is vital as it provides an opportunity for all participating stakeholders to leverage their core strengths in the value chain and stimulate economic growth,” adds Lindquist.
“Construction is proven to be one of the fastest injections of capital into the local economy, and one home has been proven to create five new jobs according to World Bank estimates.”
And while some proponents argue that Africa’s development and infrastructure needs should take priority over sustainability and green design, EAPI’s Rusin believes that building ‘green’ drives value and can unlock sources of alternative funding in the era of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“International capital demands have changed, and last year there was an eight-fold increase in sustainably driven lending worldwide to $234 BN according to latest figures released by Bloomberg NEF.”
Adding that, “In Africa, we are also witnessing the entrance of this new breed of investor and developer motivated to work on projects which will have a transformative effect on community lives, the environment and the economy, says Rusin.
Accredited by the World Bank’s IFC Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification, and with a proven ability to scale rapidly and fun, “EchoStone’s approach is winning plaudits from key decision makers and international development financing firms,” says Lindquist. “EchoStone is uniquely positioned to bridge the affordability gap by building sustainably.”
For Lindquist, the solution to funding in an emerging market and new asset class lies in EchoStone’s “blended finance” approach.
Explaining that, “We invest our resources into Joint Venture (JV) entities, with capital typically supplemented by local partners. This investment acts as a catalyst to start and initially sustain operations.”
Explaining that, “Our blended financing approach enables us to invest in our own projects, complemented by public private partnerships. For example, the Family Homes Funds (FHF) entity under the Nigeria Ministry of Finance provides construction loans to developers and supports home buyers with home loan assistance programmes. Combining our internal investments with financing schemes through government programmes and international development institutions supports our development operations and buyer offtake, which in turn supports a streamlined and affordable housing ecosystem in the Nigerian Market.”
“As one of 60 + speakers confirmed for this year’s EAPI Summit, Lindquist’s ideas and solution-oriented approach is certain to generate considerable interest within regional leaders in both the public and private sectors,” says Rusin. “EchoStone is an emerging pioneer with a proven model across the value chain and global experience, but who are also eager to work in the Kenyan and East African market.”