We have the money; let’s do deals

AfricaBusiness.com African Business

AHIF announces agenda for Addis

The AHIF agenda for September 23 – 25 at the Sheraton Addis, Ethiopia, has just been released. Among an impressive line-up of speakers will be Olivier Granet, CEO, Kasada Capital Management, the new billion-dollar, sub-Saharan investment fund, the first and biggest of its kind in Africa, targeting both greenfield and brownfield projects. Katara Hospitality and Accor are contributing $350 million and $150 million respectively to the fund, which is designed to bridge the gap between the local hospitality market players and international investors.

During a one-to-one interview at AHIF, Granet will discuss future deals and the kind of opportunities Kasada is seeking. In a hint of what’s in store, he said: “There is an incredible opportunity ahead to try out an innovative hospitality investment model in the region. While in other parts of the world such initiatives are already thriving, they do not exist with critical size and integrated structure in Sub-Saharan Africa. The time is now for bold strategies to be implemented.” The support of both Accor and Katara will enhance the fund’s ability to raise debt efficiently from local banks and international financial institutions. According to Kasada, co-investments with local partners will support job creation and further local business opportunities, for investors to contractors to equipment suppliers.

Also on the AHIF agenda will be a regional leaders’ panel where the biggest brands will be quizzed on their growth strategies for Africa by industry guru, Nick van Marken. He will lead a conversation with Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, IMEA, IHG, Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International and Mark Willis, CEO, AccorHotels Middle East & Africa.

An investors’ panel, led by Xander Nijnens, EVP, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, JLL, will seek updates on current sentiment in the region. He will discuss deals with Ilaria Benucci, Investment Director, Equity Investments, CDC Group, David Damiba, Chief Investment Officer, Kasada Capital Management and Lourie Kruger, Chief Investment Officer, RF Capital.

Another of this year’s highlights will be a one-to-one “hot seat” interview with Accor’s global chief development officer, Gaurav Bhushan, with an overview of strategy for Africa. What is Accor doing to improve the overall customer experience globally, and how is this driving development for the brand?

The detail behind W Hospitality Group’s annual hotel pipeline survey, acknowledged as the industry’s most authoritative tracker of branded hotel development across the continent, will also be featured. It will show that the big chains, Marriott, Accor, Hilton and Radisson are leading the way in a land-grab which has more than 75,000 rooms in 401 hotels in the pipeline. Since 2015, there has been growth of 51% in the total pipeline rooms; North Africa has grown by 58% and sub-Sahara by 47%.

And that’s not all, Dr Martyn Davies, Managing Director, Emerging Markets & Africa, Deloitte & Touche will provide an overview of the current global economic climate and its impact on the African market. An interrogation of senior hotel development executives from international hotel brands, including Mike Collini, VP Development Sub-Saharan Africa, Hilton, Andrew McLachlan, SVP, Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Radisson, Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels and Hasnain Noorani, Founder & Group Managing Director, Pride Group, will reveal what they are seeking to achieve and what they really bring to the table.

The programme will also feature the popular networking activities, such as round-table discussions and business card exchanges, which have been the genesis of numerous successful commercial relationships.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, AHIF’s organiser, said: “The spirit of AHIF 2019 can be summed up in seven words: ‘We have the money; let’s do deals.’ The market is maturing; more funding than ever is available and investment strategies are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As all the key players will be in Addis, it will be the place to talk business, to reinforce top-level relationships and to announce agreements.”

AHIF is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in Africa. Last year, more than five hundred delegates attended from over forty countries. It connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into hotels, other tourism projects and infrastructure.

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