CNBC Africa in Conversation with Paul Rwigwamba About Covid ’19 Impact on the Real Estate Market in Rwanda
As the drastic effects of the Covid ’19 virus hit worldwide, it has impacted everyone no matter what race, class, or region.
CNBC Africa spoke to the Director of Project and Property management, Paul Rwigwamba asking him about the impact and future implications the coronavirus could have on the Real Estate sector in Rwanda.
According to Paul, the Real Estate sector has seen a rapid boost in Rwanda over the past five years, and housing contributes to approximately 9.5% of Rwanda’s GDP. Rwigwamba was of the view that the labor market of the real estate sector was particularly responsible for this boost and that unfortunately, the outbreak of the coronavirus has taken the labor market on a downward spiral, thus implicating the whole sector.
Paul Rwigwamba told CNBC that all sectors such as Housing, Offices, Residential, Hostels, Retail, and so on had been a victim of the virus, but the Real Estate sector was the biggest blow to the economy.
Upon being asked as to if he thinks the Real Estate sector has a future in coming years, Paul said that he doesn’t think that Real Estate and Property sector could perish. He doesn’t think coronavirus must be viewed as something that could cause the Property sector to shut down completely. Instead, he thinks that people see opportunities, and they want to grow real estate from Kigali.
When asked if he thought the Real Estate sector was a priority, Rwigwamba said that it was more of a need. He said that considering how beneficial the real estate sector has been on the economy, they are monitoring the events and considering all possibilities. He said that things are very uncertain at the moment, but once the lockdown lifts, airports open, and the economy starts thriving again, he hopes things improve.
He said that the main impact of the coronavirus has been on the way people think. People are now re-imagining, re-designing, and re-thinking the future lifestyle. If people previously wanted to build an office of 100,000 square feet, they may now consider downsizing, by maybe just building 50,000 or less corporate space. About how the situation turned out after the coronavirus outbreak and how people had to maintain a social distance, people are now also considering the possibility of working from home in the future.
Despite all the possible outcomes, the real estate sector may have a different shape than it had previously, but it will not be shutting down, said Paul.