Bahrain-based Naseej, a fully-integrated real estate and infrastructure development company in the region, said its top official will deliver a lecture on affordable housing during the Cityscape Abu Dhabi expo summit.
To be held from April 17 to 20, the 'Cityscape Abu Dhabi Mena Real Estate Summit' will bring together 40 selected speakers representing successful, groundbreaking and prominent leaders from the regional and international real estate industry, said a Naseej statement.
Naseej CEO Christopher Sims will participate in a special panel discussion on ‘Opportunities for investment and development within the affordable housing sector in the Mena region’.
The other panel members include Jonathan Herps, advisor to SBK Holding, Abu Dhabi Capital and the Private Office of Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan; Sami Asad, CEO of Aldar; Gurjit Singh, COO of Sorouh; and R Lakshmanan, CEO of Bahrain-based Sakana Holistic Housing Solutions.
On the Cityscape role, Sims said, 'This is a most timely opportunity to discuss the challenge of affordable housing, which is arguably the most pressing socio-economic issue on today’s regional agenda.'
'There is a huge demand for affordable housing by citizens across the Mena region, ranging from an estimated 53,000 people in Bahrain to over one million in Morocco,' he remarked.
“According to latest demographic studies, population growth within the region continues to outstrip housing supply, and this situation will worsen in the future due to the largely youthful nature of the population,' he pointed out.
'For example, around 45 per cent of the population in Bahrain is currently under 25 years of age, while in Saudi Arabia, it is over 50 per cent,” Sims noted.
'As a Bahraini-based company, with prominent Bahraini private and public sector shareholders, we are committed to acting as a catalyst of change for addressing the affordable housing needs of Bahrain, which takes pride of place in our immediate business plans,' he stated.
'To this end, Naseej is currently and actively undertaking out due diligence and viability studies into a number of affordable housing projects across the Kingdom,' said Sims, who was named Naseej CEO in April last year.
A chartered surveyor, Sims has over 25 years’ experience in property development and investment in the UK, Europe, East Asia and the Middle East, said a Naseej statement.
He has held senior positions with Prudential Portfolio Limited, Bovis Abroad, The London Dockland Development Corporation, Hong Kong Land Company, and Dubai World Trade Centre. He was also founding CEO of Aldar Properties, guiding the company from start-up operations in 1999 to its landmark IPO in 2004, it added.
Sims is a member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, and associate of Chartered institute of Arbitrators. He is also a graduate of College of Estate Management at Reading University.