Earning a decent salary minus investment, will not make you rich. If you sometimes dream of becoming rich someday, then it is high time you consider thinking in terms of investing and not earning. Also if you feel somehow stuck in choosing the right investment to make, then Safaricom investment co-operative might be your answer.
Sub-Saharan Africa is a promising market for property as urbanization, economic development and increased affluence among the rising middle class drive growth across the sector.
The latest data from Kenya national bureau of statistics shows that Kenya’s real estate and construction industry has been identified as one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy growing by 11.3 per cent in the first three months this year.
Faced with a continuous struggle and challenges to improve Kenyan’s communication and mobile money services, Safaricom, a leading mobile network provider in Kenya is now tapping and mapping new ventures in the real estate sector to maximum shareholders wealth through prudent, sustainable and responsible investment activities.
CEO Africa was privileged to meet Hellen Akinyi Okanda Safaricom Investment Co-operative (SIC) Projects Manager and Sales and Marketing Manager Stanley Mutiso Hussein for a one on one.
What investment segments is Safaricom investment Co-operative focusing on within the market as you outline your product portfolio?
It was set up in February 2009 with the aim of investing members ’contributions in real estate development, buying and selling of land , value addition on land parcels , agribusiness and trading in equity and money markets.
Since Safaricom investment’s initiation in 2009, what factors have changed in terms of how you conduct your daily operations?
When it was incepted, many people thought the project was too ambitious considering that housing and real estate investments was a new concept to co-operatives. But when we successfully completed our first 54 apartment’s project in Ruaka which is in the outskirt of Nairobi, as well 13 units in Rongai, many people started giving us attention hence upturn in membership.
Since then, business has been improving according to the market needs. Today we can proudly say that SIC is doing very well not only in Kenya but in East and Central Africa in terms of dividend payment. For example, the 2015-2016 financial year, we paid 21% dividend increase from the previous years.
How can one tap into the investment opportunities provided by the company?
Simply by paying membership registration fee of Ksh 20,000. After successful registration, each member must buy a minimum shares of 300 each at the cost of ksh 525. As a member you can float a minimum of 100 shares and a maximum of shares that you own anytime and anywhere across the globe since we now have an online member’s portal https://webportal.sic.co.ke.
However, if you want to still continue as a member you must retain a minimum of 300 shares.
Consumers across the continent are increasingly becoming tech-savvy and want convenient access to their investment on the go, kindly take us through the innovative trend within the company.
Most of the time we update our members on the daily activities in the company through our Sms platform, emails provided by a member as well as social media which is one of our biggest platform that mostly we engage our customers. We also provide a vibrant customer care services.
What is so unique about Safaricom investment limited offering amid the competition from a crowded investment companies in the market, both local and international?
Unlike most investment companies, the firm applies principles of professionalism, credibility, good governance: transparency, accountability, risk management and control in its operations and pursue objectives that are in the interests of its members. These ethics have seen the company gain its members trust and loyalty.
Being a strategic syndicate that has no room for failure, we came up with investment team that are keen on identifying the best areas to invest, concept designers that work to deliver superior quality products, project management players who ensures delivery of a project within the stipulated time, costs and scope and a fund-raising team that enables access to funding for projects. This is complimented by a strong financial advisory team that, in addition to coming up with tailor made investments solutions for their clients, sells the end product to the users.
Available statistics put the annual demand for housing at 200,000 in urban areas, and 350, 000 in the rural areas. So far, what have you done to address the growing demand for housing in the country?
Currently we are spreading our presence into the counties where we are seeing massive opportunities that has been brought out by devolution of county governments across the country.
At the moment we have projects in Nanyuki, Kiambu, Kajiado , Narok, Coastal region among others. In as much as we target high end market clients, we also have massive plans to come up with affordable housing projects across the country.
Since you decided to venture into the real estate sector, what can you say are your achievements and what challenges did you face?
Our record success has been contributed by our team work where every person believes that working towards achieving a common goal, is having a right attitude and determination to achieve them despite the challenges.
People always trust and believe in us because we continuously deliver a promise we made to either our members or clients within the stipulated time. We also do intensive research before we purchase land in any place by engaging our experts. For this reason and others, we assure our members that their investment is safe with us.
Besides, most developments in Kenya, the contractor is also the developer, meaning that there is no professional supervision of the quality of work that will be delivered. At the end of such a project, if there is anything that has not been done to specification, the investor has to grapple with the consequences.
All our project have been overseen by architects, project managers and contractors. Hence rest assured of quality products for our clients. None of our investors have complained about the quality of work done so far.
In the country recently we are seeing new emergence of alternative building technologies such as use of containers, fabricated bricks among others to reduce the construction cost and time. In your opinion, what would be the best of the select breed of next generation in the real estate development for ease operations and processes optimization?
As a company we have considered the new technology before but after doing our research, we found out that majority of Kenyans are not yet ready to invest in such housing. So we hold on. In future maybe when the market picks up, we will try but for now; most people believe in projects constructed using the traditional brick and Mortar.
With the huge data acquired over the years, “structured and unstructured Data”, how do you manage your data for business intelligence and analytics especially for your strategic planning and product offering?
We use the information collected and expertise gained over the years to better our projects and customer services. It also enables us to analyze and scrutinize our projects before we start and during the project to avoid mistakes that might spoil our brand and relationship with members.
What else can investor expect from Safaricom investment?
Investing in the company is the right choice made to gain value for your money.
As Safaricom Investment Co-operative we will continue to honor each promise made. We also urge more investors to start trading more in our private equity due to its high interest earning stocks compared to placing a chunk of money in a savings account that earns nothing. The stock exchange is a better option for many who aspire to be rich.
Also our investors should expect maximum returns for their investment in terms of dividends.
What does the future holds for the company in Kenya based on your staff delivery, market dynamics and targeted clientele?
We are the best investment vehicle to mobilize resources for middle and low-income level individuals yearning to invest in land and housing, on the principle of being people centric and mutual business, among others.
We are working hard to deliver the best round the clock as we expand our customer’s base as well as services in the country. In the coming years, people will feel our presence more at the grass root just the way they impress Safaricom as their mother brand.