Africa emerging as shrewd investment for hoteliers

Studies by Lagos-based consultancy W Hospitality Group have revealed that the number of Sub-Saharan African pipeline rooms has increased by 42 per cent in the last year.

Africa isn’t usually looked upon as a place of rapid development but the report revealed that almost all the major international hotel brands, such as Radisson; Hilton; and Marriott, are involved in the hotel growth.

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Managing director of W Hospitality Group Trevor Ward remarked: “Seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa, where economic growth is around six per cent per annum; that’s more than double the rate of many major Western economies and faster than the average for Asia – so if you are answerable to shareholders for growing returns, these are facts you can’t afford to ignore.”

Previously held perceptions of the continent such as high inflation, armed conflict and autocracies are slowly being disproved as misconception, and, perhaps most significantly, investors are having a positive experience. In the 1999-2009 period, the S&P fell by 0.8 per cent year on year; by comparison, the S&P in Africa grew by over 23 per cent.

Chairman of Bench Events, the organisers of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), Jonathan Wolsey added: “The smart money doesn’t just spot opportunity; it creates it. If you compare Africa, and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, with the rest of the world, there is a dramatic shortage of international branded hotels, so I expect the rapid growth in hotel development to continue apace for several years yet. What is more intriguing is who will be getting in to bed with whom and on what terms?”

The AHIF will take place in Nairobi from 25 to 26 September and will be attended by hospitality industry leaders, investors and consultants.

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