Africa Hospitality Investment Forum 2021


Press Centre

NEWS RELEASE: AHIF to probe crucial issues for hotel investment in Africa -

Published 12 July 2016

The 7th Africa Hotel Investment Forum, being hosted this year in Rwanda, promises a highly influential line-up of speakers, ready to unpick the major challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality industry in Africa.
AHIF brings together a prestigious group of international investors, business leaders, industry experts, government ministers and officials, from over 50 countries. It gives delegates the chance to network, learn about latest developments, share expertise, make business pitches and secure future deals.
Bench Events managing director Matthew Weihs, organiser of AHIF, said: “AHIF is renowned as the place where conversations lead to firm projects and the private and public sectors come together to form mutually beneficial partnerships.
“Our cast of high-level experts is attracting significant interest from delegates across the globe, with attendance set to increase on previous years.”
Major highlights at AHIF, which is taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali from 4-6 October 2016, include:
Economic outlook for Africa
Lars Christensen, founder and owner of Markets and Money Advisory and a Senior Fellow at London’s Adam Smith Institute, shares his insights into the opportunities and risks in the midst of economic turbulence in Africa.
Developing tourism infrastructure
Dr. Wolfgang Thome, Publisher, ATC News will discuss with Richard Bodin, Chief Commercial Officer, fastjet; John Mirenge, Chief Executive Officer, RwandAir and Wolfgang Neumann, President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group about what lessons can be learnt from other parts of the world and what the global players need to see to drive investment. They will explore the link between aviation development and hotel investment in Africa and discuss common challenges detailing how can the two industries work together to develop a co-ordinated approach to tourism development.
Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood
A one-on-one interview with Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, will uncover details of the deal and the implications for the hotel industry in Africa.

Tackling political and security risk
Richard Kiplagat, Chief Operating Officer of Africa Practice describes the most pressing current and future threats and how businesses can safeguard their assets and their people. Col. Silas Udahemuka, Director General, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, will follow on with a conversation as to how they are tackling these challenges.

The shape of the industry
Thomas Emmanuel, Director of Business Development, STR will review hotel performance in Africa and reveal what has changed in the last 12 months?  The AHIF annual pipeline update.  Trevor Ward, Managing Director, W Hospitality will reveal what new properties are coming online in the near future and he will consider where we are seeing a supply/demand gap

The real African opportunity
Filippo Sona, Director-Head of Hotels (MENA), Colliers International will give an honest account of the real opportunities in key Sub-Saharan markets.  He will consider the real number of rooms which can be supported by the market and what returns will come from hotels.

Money matters: Raising capital
An expert panel will look at overcoming the main challenges in hotel development.  They will discuss the current investment environment, given shifts in the economy and debate the options in securing funding for projects asking what is it that the banks, investors and financiers looking for?  Panelists include: Mossadeck Bally, Chief Executive Officer, Azalaï Hotels Group; Henrik Nordlander, Head of Regional Office, Swedfund International AB and Joram Sengendo, Private Equity Hotel Investments, CDC Group

Successfully transacting in Africa
Xander Nijnens, Senior Vice President, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, JLL and Alex Smertnik, Vice President, Hospitality Investments, Quantum Global Alternative Investments AG focus on the transactions process in Africa, from due diligence to exit. They will share with the audience those who have successfully transacted in the region on the challenges they faced along the way, how they overcame those hurdles and what it takes to complete an investment lifecycle in Africa. 

Other key sessions include:

  • Making the best of natural assets – how Rwanda built a lucrative and sustainable tourism industry around gorilla conservation
  • Developing talent in Africa’s hospitality sector
  • From concept to opening: the hotel development process
  • Innovations in design

See the full programme at: View the confirmed speakers: