MATERIA is a quality-focussed real estate developer building housing, social and economic infrastructure across Africa and beyond

  • MATERIA realises Impact Investments that achieve financial returns and social benefits collaborating with world-class urban, social, financial and architectural practitioners to explore and build economic and sustainable solutions conceived in distinction to the architectural and social context of each territory.

Our Approach derives from three key guiding principles: responsibility, innovation and foresight:

VISION: MATERIA’s vision is to become the developer of reference for economically efficient and architecturally and socially relevant real estate projects across Africa and beyond.

STRATEGY: through the identification of supply-demand source imbalanced in real estate assets types, capital and information, MATERIA achieves attractive risk-adjusted returns by developing quality real estate assets throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. MATERIA spearheads an informed way of developing thriving and successful communities through Impact Investments that achieve:

  • Economic Efficiency: compelling financial returns and economic viability attracting private funding. For more info see Economic Sustainability and Financial Returns
  • Design and Construction Innovation: informing traditional techniques through modern building systems. For more info see Innovation
  • Foresight & Long-term View: focus on structural changes to address supply and demand misalignments
  • Value-add Management: advantages through on the ground presence, creating value through repositioning, restructuring, development, and intensive management. For more info see Team
  • Design Quality: collaboration with world-class spatial and architectonic thinkers to challenge spatial practices that divides communities. For more info see Partners
  • Social Relevance: involvement and empowerment of local communities, use of local materials and workforce, enactment of sustainable practices and emphasis on public spaces. For more info see Responsibility

MATERIA focuses on three asset classes which provides a well-diversified exposure to the development dynamics of each territory:

Apis Urban Housing Fund where Materia is the exclusive development partner to build flexible residential communities at affordable prices:

  • Responsibility: social and political issue affecting millions of families calling for a novel solution
  • Innovation: novel structures with Institutional stakeholders, lenders and end-buyers to decrease the affordability threshold. Highly innovative incremental design and construction solutions
  • Foresight: creation of an institutional asset class for local insurance companies, pension funds and investors seeking yielding local assets to match their long-term liabilities

Exemplary and innovative housing communities catering to the needs of employees of companies and individuals alike.

  • Responsibility: Creating sustainable social and natural ecosystem through the use of local materials, collaboration with local communities and site-specific design to foster an atmosphere of social inclusion among residents of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Innovation: Integrated masterplan around a core of social facilities, passive ventilation and low maintenance finishing for sustainable dwellings that sets high standards of living
  • Foresight: Income-yield play with central servicing ensuring high quality of living

Cultural, educational, healthcare and sports common facilities forming the core of our communities, developed to guarantee quality of living of our residents and/or spread the MATERIA’s vision through non-profit interventions:

  • Responsibility: ensuring integration, sense of belonging and quality of common living
  • Innovation: relentless research on materials, climatic conditions and local living customs. Partnerships with DFIs (Development Finance Institutions) and other Partners to establish successfully and replicable ventures
  • Foresight: income-yield play and non-profit investments for capital looking for high social impact

Management Team

MATERIA’s team deliver one of the most comprehensive and holistic operational capabilities in the African real estate industry to support the growth of our projects. Management based on the ground providing advantage in land sourcing, pricing, execution and risk management.

Lucio is based between Tunis and MATERIA’s countries of presence in Africa and oversees both the ground project development and the strategic expansion of the company.

Lucio founded MATERIA after over a decade of experience in best-in-class real estate development and investment in both emerging and developed markets, to establish a leading pan-regional development firm achieving financial returns as well as social and architectural benefits.

Before MATERIA, up to 2013, he was at The Abraaj Group, a USD 7.5 bn fund, with responsibility for real estate investments in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East.

Prior to Abraaj, Lucio was at Colony Capital in London, a USD 24 bn real estate firm, investing in value-add real estate assets across Europe. Before Colony Capital, Lucio worked at Bosse Development, a property developer focused on NYC. Lucio started his career at Goldman Sachs, London, in the Investment Banking Division advising multinational companies across Europe and the MENA region on M&A, corporate restructuring and IPOs.

Lucio holds a Mmus and a MA from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a BSc from Bocconi University, Milan.

Roberto brings to MATERIA more than 25 years of world-class real estate development experience in emerging markets for organisation such as the Aga Khan Development Network, the World Bank, HCI International and Real Concept. Roberto has worked on several high-quality projects across Africa, Middle East and Asia and brings to the team the priceless ability to work efficiently under unfavourable conditions and within new local skills framework.

Ayush is responsible for the development management of existing projects and analysis and due diligence of new opportunities. Before joining MATERIA, Ayush was at Acumen, a non-profit global venture fund investing in affordable housing and healthcare facilities in India. Ayush also worked at Technoserve, a leading US non-profit investment firm with the role of establishing a business accelerator program for entrepreneurs in India. Ayush started his career at Tresvista, a leading provider of research, analytic and customised financial services for the private equity industry.

Ayush holds a Bachelor of Business Administration at Nims University of Mumbai.

Francis is an award-winning architect operating through his firm Kéré Architecture. He is widely considered as the reference figure for a new form of development for Africa. He counts among his prizes the Aga Khan Architectural Award, the LafargeHolcim Sustainability Award, the Cartier Foundation award and his work has been exhibited at the MoMA in NYC and the Royal Academy of Arts in London among others. He is also a tenured professor at Harvard University and founder of the Association Schulbausteine für Gando.

MATERIA collaborates with Francis since many years on the back of a shared vision. Francis is also an advisor to the Board of Directors at MATERIA.

Adamo is the in-house architect and junior project manager at MATERIA helping to coordinate all the design and development work. Adamo speaks English, Portugues and French fluently and is therefore well situated to wok on many different African regions.

Adamo is a graduate of the Ecole d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme of Algiers.

Christopher assists MATERIA with his day-to-day design and project management matters, helping to coordinate specific tasks in the design and development work. Christopher is passionate about Africa, and has also worked in Malawi before joining MATERIA in Mozambique.

Christopher is a graduate of the Kassel University, Faculty of Architecture.

Construction Team

MATERIA’s construction team comprises of over 60 people on the ground. For each project local people are trained and integrated into the construction team to nurture skills and contribute to the long-term economic independency of local communities.


MATERIA collaborates with some of the world best-in-class architects, designer, financial practitioners, manufacturers, urbanist and social thinker to envisage creative and efficient solutions to local problems.

Kéré Architecture

Francis Kéré is an award-winning architect and the leading voice of African architecture and sustainable development. Among the prizes won by his work there are the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Global Holcim Award, Global Award for Sustainable Architecture and the BSI Swiss architectural award. His work has been featured in exhibitions at MOMA, the Royal Arts Academy in London, the Biennale of Venice, the Chicago Biennial and more. More recently, President Obama’s “Obama Foundation” selected him as chief architect for their school campus which is under development in Kenya.

Francis is a fellow of the Cartier and Holcim Foundations and teaches at Harvard University and Università della Svizzera italiana (USI).

Durabric (LafargeHolcim / CDC)

DURABRIC is LafargeHolcim’s affordable, low-carbon alternative construction solution developed in JV with CDC Group. DURABRIC addresses the rapid deforestation faced by many developing countries, caused by the use of burnt bricks as the main building material. DURABRIC is a compressed earth stabilized block made of local earth, sand, cement and water. Thanks to its cement content and specific mix design, developed in LafargeHolcim’s R&D center, DURABRIC does not require firing. Therefore, no firewood is needed in the manufacturing process! Compared to traditional burnt clay bricks, DURABRIC also offers better resistance to water, higher strength blocks, lower carbon emissions and a superior aesthetic finish; all using local materials.

Aga Khan Development network (AKDN)

Group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, and the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)

Leading architectural academy presided by leading architect Mario Botta, which has created an interdisciplinary teaching model that goes beyond the traditional specializations so as to train architects who are both humanists and generalists as required by the times. MATERIA has already sponsored a USI workshop in its Benga Riverside project in Jan 2016 and other initiatives are being envisaged.

Metal Yapi

Leading façade and building envelope manufacturers, with a product range comprising bespoke unitized curtain wall systems, active and interactive intelligent facades with ventilation, all types of steel and glass systems, sun shading systems and metal cladding. Yapi is able to work around MATERIA’s unique design concepts offering high-quality materials and innovative structures.

Cultural Engineering

Cultural Engineering is a creative services outlet that provides a consultancy service in the fields of culture, entrepreneurship and creative spaces across the UAE, Middle East and North Africa.

Enko Education

Enko Education is MATERIA’s partner for the international school that is being launched in Mozambique. Enko is an Africa-wide network of international primary & secondary school, offering students across Africa with a launchpad to the world’s best universities.


One of the construction technology partner for MATERIA’s Affordable Housing platform. Expanded Polystyrene technology developed over years of experience in setting up large construction operations for large schemes in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Pichler Engineering GmbH

Leading engineering firm operating since 1994 in planning, delivering, building and maintaining innovative engineering solutions. Customers include global energy suppliers, pipeline operators, construction firms as MATERIA as well as innovative industrial companies.


Community-based enterprise started by architect and environmentalist Allan Schwarz in 1994, pushing forward a model of inclusive sustainable design in central Mozambique. Mezimbite harvests indigenous noble hardwoods to produce high-quality furniture and other wooden artifacts. The enterprise is currently growing through a series of satellite communities based on the model of Mezimbite and collaborating with MATERIA in some of these.