Dear FIABCI Community:
Among my duties as World President that I enjoy most is traveling to FIABCI Chapter events. It gives me the opportunity to reconnect with FIABCI friends and make new ones. It also gives me an opportunity to share the progress FIABCI is making against our core objectives and to observe, first hand, how these global initiatives and ideals are manifested within local markets. The first two months of 2019 were very busy ones with visits to Chapters in Nigeria, Italy, Switzerland and France. These visits were both interesting and productive for FIABCI and I wish to thank all for the kind hospitality shown to me. Following are some highlights of these visits.
A week into the New Year, I traveled to Neuchâtel, Switzerland to join FIABCI-Suisse for their 2019 kick-off event, which focused on the predictions and prospects for the Swiss market. I commend this Chapter for starting the year with a look at what’s ahead for their market. Only by anticipating what’s to come can we be prepared to respond to new challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that come with those challenges. Our industry must strike the right balance between risk management, innovation and entrepreneurship. From an outsider’s view, Switzerland appears to be very well-positioned to find this balance and manage its challenges.
Following my time in Switzerland, I travelled to Milan to attend the RE Italy Winter Forum. This event, held twice a year, brings together major real estate operators at the Milan Stock Exchange. The January edition focuses on strategies for the coming year. Much like FIABCI, RE Italy takes a collaborative approach, facilitating a dialogue between the many operators in the market. Collaboration was a key theme at the FIABCI-Italia dinner (held in conjunction with RE Italy), where I provided Chapter members with an update on FIABCI’s most collaborative efforts, including our work on the City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) that encourages cooperation between local governments and local real estate organizations.
My January travels ended in Lagos, where I was pleased to take part in FIABCI-Nigeria’s Business Forum and Prix d’Excellence Awards Gala Dinner. These events included the introduction of the “Nigerian Property Scorecard”, which is designed to act as global benchmark for real estate investment by reflecting the status of six core elements necessary for transparent and efficient property market development. FIABCI-Nigeria is to be commended for modeling the best practice of transparency and openly presenting an honest assessment of the country’s real estate landscape.
The event also provided a platform to send the message to the market about how important it is for a country to raise the bar on the real estate profession. In its 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum recognized Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world and highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness to enable business. FIABCI-Nigeria is doing its part to support this recognition.
Paris has become my home-away-from-home as I spend time at our headquarters doing FIABCI’s business. During my most recent Chapter visit, I joined a group of 50 FIABCI delegates in a joint program with Greater Paris Economic Capital for a day of working meetings - where we were introduced to attractive opportunities worth 7,2 billion euros of investment through residential, office, logistic, commercial and other projects -, as well as property visits. It ended with a business networking event at the famous Fouquet’s, where we were treated to insights on the Grand Paris Express, the largest urban project in Europe, from the Chairman of Viparis Bernard Michel and Greater Paris General Manager Alexandre Missoffe.
The projects we visited were all excellent examples of the type of urban initiatives that attract foreign investment to high-profile developments worldwide. Such projects have helped to keep Paris among the world’s top destinations for investor funds, tourism and international corporate headquarters.
I look forward to my upcoming travels, which will culminate with our 70th FIABCI World Real Estate Congress in Moscow. Before then, I have several events on my travel itinerary, including MIPIM Cannes, France next month, where I hope to see many of you. Safe and productive travels to all!
FIABCI World President, 2018-19