Stakeholders in the housing industry that gathered in Paris, France, for a weeklong conference are seeking affordable homes for Nigerians in diaspora.

The event tagged: ‘Paris Housing Fair 2022, hosted by Housing Circuit Limited in collaboration with the Nigeria Embassy in Paris, was staged to create housing investment opportunities for real estate developers, mortgage finance and construction companies in Nigeria and France.

The forum enabled participants to exchange ideas and understand the realities of mortgage financing in Nigeria and how they can take advantage of the schemes, providing a niche-networking platform for participants, who have been carefully selected based on their strategic and leadership positions in their respective businesses.

Besides, participants gained expert insights into new market trends in European and Nigerian real estate sectors, housing and urban renewal and shared practical experiences regarding global tools, as well as an excursion to construction sites in Paris. The plenary session was held at the Nigerian Embassy.

The plenary-themed: ‘Setting Up Sustainable Structures for Effective Nigeria-France Housing Investment,’ drew speakers from both sides of the divide, articulating opinions on how to foster economic growth and enhance housing affordability, especially for Nigerians in the diaspora.

In his opening remarks, the Ambassador/Head of Mission Nigeria Embassy, Kayode Laro, commended the initiative, saying it is an ingenious way of connecting Nigerians in diaspora desirous of home ownership with policymakers and developers from Nigeria.

The special guest of honour and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Umana Okon Umana, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Olufunso Adebiyi, expounded on the efforts being made by the ministry in providing critical infrastructure in the region.

He said: “We are engaging experts across the world to partner with us in various sectors to boost economic activities in the region. We believe the relative peace Niger Delta had experienced and its investor-friendly outlook will hold and blossom once these positive interventions take firm root.”

Umana canvassed the support of stakeholders, “it is my singular honour and privilege to invite investors to partner with us by investing in the Niger Delta region, which boasts of incredible opportunities for profitable commercial engagement with Nigeria.”

The Convener and Chief Executive Officer, Housing Circuit Limited, Seun Jegede, while commending the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in providing consular assistance to prospective participants from the private sector, expressed frustration at the refusal by the French Embassy to grant entry visas to credible developers, drawn mostly from the private sector in 2014 when the initiative was conceived.

“The main thrust was to provide an interface between Nigerians in the diaspora, developers and policymakers. How do we achieve this set target when the critical audience is constantly denied entry visa based on spurious claims despite interventions of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he added.

The resource persons at the forum were the Managing Director, Abuja Property Development Company, Magaji Lawal; Director, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Department of Outdoor Advertising and Signage, Dr. Baba-Gana Adam; Kalu Okoroafor, a France-based structural engineer, Mrs. Sorelle Buchert, among many others.