Africa Hospitality Investment Forum 2021


Press Centre

Doing business in Africa - The challenges and opportunities

Published 30 July 2015

Doing business in Africa - The challenges and opportunities
Africa Hotel Investment Forum unveils heavyweight programme

The organisers of this year’s Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) are promising to turn the spotlight on “doing business” in the continent, using data and specially-commissioned research from a wide range of industry experts to illuminate both the challenges and the opportunities.

Now in its fifth year, AHIF will again bring together 500-plus leading international hotel investors, local operators, ministers, government officials and industry experts from around 40 countries.

Taking place at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, from 30 September to 1 October, the full programme has a number of major highlights including:

Sébastien Bazin – AccorHotels Chairman and CEO
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, the Paris-headquartered group that owns, operates and franchises 3,700 hotels on five continents, will bring an authoritative voice to the conference. AccorHotels has a long history in the African market and, in Angola alone, AccorHotels has plans to build and operate 50 hotels in partnership with AAA Activos LDA, a major Angolan corporation, known for its leadership in oil insurance and in investment. Sébatstien will shed light on how the hotel landscape has evolved and identify the new opportunities for growth. He will also explain how the company is putting digital technology at the heart of its corporate strategy.

Jonathan Ledgard – on political risk
For over a decade Jonathan Ledgard covered unrest and conflict as a correspondent in Africa for the Economist. Now a director of the Future Africa Initiative at EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Jonathan will discuss the state of political risk in Africa, as well as focusing on technology and how accessible, low-cost technologies can help improve distribution and logistics. 

What the international investors think
Xander Nijnens, Senior Vice Presidemt, Head of Hotels and Hospitality, Sub-Saharan Africa with real estate company JLL, will present the findings of a survey on international investors’ sentiments. The expectation is that Xander will highlight some of the most pressing challenges facing hotel investors in Africa.

Other key sessions include:

  • Antoine Guego, COO Africa AccorHotels and Carlos Manoel de Sao Vicente, Chairman of AAA, will discuss their economic, social and cultural approach to developing 50 hotels in three years
  • A focus on game lodges, an interesting and “uniquely African segment”
  • A first-time look at the resort market in Africa
  • A view at the mid-market, Africa’s fastest-growing segment of the hotel sector
  • Managing projects through to completion, with tips from experts and the experience of a first-time hotel developer
  • How to assemble the dream team
  • Branding and what can Africa learn from the Asian experience

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events, organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, said: “We are entering an exciting and dynamic phase in the African economic growth story, with travel and tourism now accounting for 8.1% of GDP, and forecast to rise at 4.9% per annum until 2025.

“I expect that delegates will take away from AHIF 2015 a clear impression that Africa is an increasingly attractive place to do business and that those involved in the hotel industry must be in it for the long-game. I think they will hear people say that hotel development in Africa is hard to get started and it’s hard to get finished. But for those in for the long-haul, the rewards will come and they will be impressive.”

For the full conference programme go to: []



The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF)
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. It is organised by Bench Events (, which is known for producing, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, several other top-level hotel conferences around the world including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC).

Sponsors of AHIF 2015 are: AccorHotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Hilton Worldwide, Mangalis Hotel Group and Marriott International as Platinum Sponsors; Afreximbank, Areen Hospitality Design, Calibra, Colliers International, France 24, Grant Thornton, Honeywell, Horwath HTL, Hotel Partners Africa, HTI Consulting, HVS, Hyatt, IDC, Kempinski, KFW DEG, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Onlime Business Communications, Samsung, Starwood Hotels and Resorts International, STR Global, SVA, The Brand Co, The Great Hospitality and Wyndham Hotel Group as Gold Sponsors.