Ghana Real Estate Sector: Presentation of Manet Group

Martin Beeko and Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko give an overview of the real estate sector in Ghana. They also present Manet Group and talk about investment opportunities, challenges, projects, competitive advantages and their vision for the future.

Interview with Martin Beeko, Marketing Executive and Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko, CEO of Manet Group

Martin Beeko

For the last ten years or more, Ghana has been going through an amazing growth. What has been the effect on your sector?

As a company, we always have ongoing projects. One of our projects consists of apartment complexes, others consist of hotel, and shopping mall developments. In the past we primarily focused on building single-unit residential houses.

[Martin Beeko] As you said, Ghana is increasingly becoming more visible in the international market. Over the past few years there has been a lot more attention on Ghana, especially with the recent oil find. People are becoming more aware of our existence and the opportunities that exist here. We have had a lot of people making inquiries across various industries such as real estate, oil and gas, and more, so I guess interest comes along with it.

More people have come but does it bring direct revenue for you?

[Martin Beeko] That’s hard to say. In terms of being aware of what’s available, we have significantly more inquiries from all over the globe but in terms of direct revenue, I wouldn’t say we have progressed to that stage yet.

Do you think the government is following the right strategies and policies regarding development?

[Martin Beeko] This company was founded with a goal to try and eradicate the perpetual reliance on rentals. In the earlier days, what usually happened after graduation and the acquisition of a job option was to rent for a while with the hope to amass enough wealth to someday purchase your own home.

Theresa Oppong Beeko

[Martin Beeko] However, this company started to help alleviate the perpetual reliance on rentals. We had homes that were affordable and were sold at very low prices but over time we couldn’t sustain that as a company; it wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat. We then shifted from that bracket to a slightly higher one. As a company we have certainly paid our dues. We made a lot of sacrifices to ensure people would be able to enjoy the thrill and the dream of owning their own home. It’s something we wanted and still want to keep doing but at the end of the day, the sheer size and responsibilities of our company makes it impossible to provide “affordable housing” without the provision of incentives by the country’s government. Our hands are tied.

What kind of investors will be able to do that sort of thing? What is a possible solution?

[Martin Beeko] We feel that in any country, it’s the government’s responsibility to take care of low-income housing. When I talk about that, I’m not saying the government should be directly responsible for putting up the structures but perhaps establishing some form of incentives for a select group of companies, such as land provision among others. You could assign specific locations to various real estate firms and simply lift the duties on imported materials or something to that effect. This includes land and infrastructure because these are areas that comprise most of the cost of development. If we have some sort of incentives from the government to alleviate some of those responsibilities, it would make the process easier.

What are some other challenges you are facing?

[Martin Beeko] Financing is a huge problem. We don’t have access to foreign loans, which are offered at significantly lower interest rates. We have had to rely on the very high interest rates in Ghana. It is significantly lower now but 26% is not low. We consider it low because we’ve come from a background where we’ve had to deal with as much as 50% interest rates. In the case where an investor is looking to actually come into the country to conduct some business in this industry, that’s a key area they need to focus on. If you have access to those funds, it will help greatly. Ghana has a growing economy and the opportunities are limitless.

[Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko] A foreigner has access to much low interest rates and as such has an advantage over us. When we seek foreign loans, the financial institutions require a government-backed guarantee, which cannot be obtained unless you are affiliated to the presiding political party. Due to our neutral stance in politics, we have faced such obstacles as a company.

[Martin Beeko] Our goal is to help Ghana develop so we focus on our area of expertise and do our job and try to avoid aligning ourselves to one political party.

Manet Group

[Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko] Essentially, the absences of those guarantees make it virtually impossible to gain access to those funds. In the case whereby the government would want to solve the housing solution it could provide a grant where interest is provided, it could facilitate a loan, infrastructure, etc. Building a house wouldn’t be that expensive if we didn’t have to worry about those costs.

What is the solution?

[Martin Beeko] Since access to low interest financing is a major issue, if an investor provides low interest rate loans, it would help significantly. Politics tends to slow things down a bit, so the elimination of the government guarantee, would expedite the development process. As an example, if Manet were to take up the responsibility of providing low-income housing, the foreign investors should not be looking for the government guarantees or a government role on any level. It should just be geared towards the private sector and the factors needed to accomplish our goal. That is one of the hurdles we have to face.

Ghana is a stable country with a growing economy. What potential projects would an investor be able to join you on?

[Martin Beeko] As a company, we always have ongoing projects. One of our projects consists of apartment complexes, others consist of hotel, and shopping mall developments. In the past we primarily focused on building single-unit residential houses. We have incorporated high-rise developments into our portfolio. Ultimately, Manet, is a one-stop shop for all your residential and commercial accommodation needs. You can have a high-rise apartment condo, typical single-floor self-contained compound, or office space.

[Martin Beeko] We also have a leisure portion with hotels, resorts and the like. Essentially, whatever it is that you’re looking for, when you walk through our doors, we are able to offer it you. We would like to incorporate the low-end as well. That way, once you walk through our doors, no matter the size of your wallet, Manet has something to meet your needs.

In which area do you think an investor will get the maximum return?

real estate ghana

[Martin Beeko] That’s the problem. The highest return you can get in the short term is the high end. We do offer these as well. If you are looking for longevity and not just something you can reap in a few short years, the low-income segment will be very profitable.

[Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko] The high-end market has become saturated which is why we don’t want to concentrate on that. We are trying to keep to the lower or middle-income range and look at the long-term. If you are looking for a short-term investment then the high end is the best.

Why should an investor come to your company?

[Martin Beeko] We have always been honest and straightforward. We are not just in this for the money. Our goal is to provide service and value to each client in everything that we do. We are in it for the long haul, we have a wide variety of services and products to provide. There are not a lot of companies that offer variety like we do.

What about your knowledge of the territory?

[Martin Beeko] Yes, we have extensive knowledge. We have been in the industry for about twenty years and we have seen it all, from land disputes to many other things. You come to us, not just because you think you can make money, but our services are accompanied with our years of vast experience in the industry. There’s basically nothing we haven’t dealt with in the course of business. If you come to us, you are secure and your risk level is not as high as with someone who entered the industry merely five years ago.

Can you tell us anything else about your competitive advantage?

Manet Ghana

[Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko] We give clients great value for money. We give them a lot more than whatever is being paid. Whenever a homeowner purchases a home from us, his/her investment grows at a rapid rate. An example of value increasing by 500% was in one of our estates. A home sold in one of our estates in 1998 for $25,000 appreciated to $90,000 in 2010 and is presently valued at $120,000.

What do your clients receive from you?

[Martin Beeko] When a client comes in looking for something particular, we are flexible. Nothing is cast in stone. The point we try to make clear is that it is not just a home, it is an investment and in each one of our houses, in just a few years, whatever price they find out the growth has been exponential.

[Dr. Theresa Oppong Beeko] Basically, within a five year period you have a 100% return on your investment. We believe in comfort and in the functionality of wealth and as such we incorporate that concept in each of our designs.

Where would you like to see this company in five years’ time? What is your vision and dream for the company?

[Martin Beeko] When you think of home or any accommodation needs, I want you to think Manet. I want the name Manet to be synonymous with serenity, security and peace of mind. That is my ultimate goal for this company. I want a sense of peace when you enter any one of our developments, whether it’s a closed-gate community or a high-rise. It’s a personal belief of mine that a man’s home is his sanctuary. Outside your walls you have no control over the dealings of the world, but when you enter those gates, or that place you call your home, it should be the one tranquil place that you know all your worries and stresses dissolve. That is my goal/vision for the company.

In terms of achievements, what would you like to have achieved in five years’ time?

[Martin Beeko] I would like us to expand beyond Accra, which has been our main focus. I would like to expand to other areas in Ghana, because I’m a firm believer in mowing your own lawn before mowing your neighbor’s. After we’ve solidified ourselves across regions in Ghana, perhaps we can go and offer our great services and products to other nations worldwide.

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