Ms. Chinwe Ajene-Sagna is a trusted Advisor and Board Executive with over 20 years of experience in the real assets/property management industry operating at C-suite levels across the public and private sectors within the US, France, Francophone and Anglophone Africa. She is the Founder & Managing Partner of a full-service real estate firm Catalyst Realty Solutions (CRS), and an adjunct-faculty in the Strategy Department of the Lagos Business School.
Recognized as one of the leading Women in Real Estate in Nigeria and West Africa, Chinwe has a demonstrable track record of accomplishment delivering real asset management solutions for private and institutional pan-African and global clients. She spent 14+ years with JLL, a Fortune 500, NYSE listed global real estate market leader where as Head of West Africa, she led market entry, opened up the office in Lagos and executed on the business strategy including 32 Million USD of real estate portfolio transactions with Union Bank of Nigeria. As the prior Head of the French International Desk in Paris, she managed global portfolios for corporates including SAP, Sanofi, Credit Agricole, FFD and FT/Orange. Her JLL career began in Washington DC where she developed 50-year community master plans as part of the US Military Housing PPP initiative; her projects received US Congressional approval. More recently, she was Group Head of Business Development Africa for Rendeavour – Africa’s largest private city developer with over 12,000 hectares on 7 projects in 5 countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, DRC, Zambia) and over US$250m in infrastructure investments.
At Catalyst Realty Solutions (CRS), Chinwe offers strategic advisory, portfolio management and project execution to key corporate, government and family office clients in Africa. She consults with the IFC as an EDGE Expert (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) and READ Accessor (Real Estate Developer Assessment). Chinwe sits on the Global Advisory board of the Harvard Business School (Africa) and the Advisory boards of AfricaWorks and Seso Global. She serves on the Alpha Mead Group and Facilities & Management services boards and Amandla Capital/Sunu Real Estate. At Alpha Mead, she is an active member of the Nominations and Governance committee where she ensures adherence to corporate governance guidelines. With Amandla Capital she provided industry-level insights on best in class real estate approaches for a portfolio optimization study and analyzed market research results. Chinwe is the Chair of the Education committee and member of both the Executive and Investment Committees for Rising Tide Africa (RTA) – a women association with a vision to increase female participation in angel investing to targeted women-led businesses. She built and successfully launched the flagship Entrepreneurship 101 Accelerator program in March 2022, training entrepreneurs from 6 countries.
Ms. Ajene-Sagna holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a BA (High Honors) from Dartmouth College and a diploma from the Tuck Business School Bridge Program. She is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS), and the Institute of Directors for both the UK and Nigeria. She is fluent in French, is learning Arabic, enjoys running, travelling and golf, and is married with two children.
Real estate can be a vehicle to leap the African middle-class into financial prosperity. The challenges are recognizing the barriers, finding new opportunities, and enabling access. In this session, we will cover the needs for better planning, construction, and access through the lens of people involved in both the public and private spaces. We will conclude with practical guidelines for investing in affordable real estate from within and beyond the African borders at the personal and institutional level. Affordable does not mean low-quality; it means scalable and replicable for the masses. Innovators are making a difference through new construction-technologies, collaborating with government to minimize risks, and bringing unique means to connect capital for developers, buyers, and investors.