Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) Podcast

Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) Podcast Podcast

The official podcast of AHIF, which is attended by the highest calibre international hotel investors of any conference in Africa. It is the only annual hotel investment conference that connects business leaders from the international and local markets, driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa.

Ep 49: Karl de Lacy Director, International Hotel Services, Best Western Hotel Group
In this podcast, Karl de Lacy Director, International Hotel Services for Best Western Hotel Group talks about how the recent acquisition of WorldHotels brand has added value to their organization. In particular, we look at how this increase in brands enables them to work with more owners from luxury down to mid-scale products....

Ep 48: Rick Taylor, CEO, The Business Tourism Company
Rick Taylor, the Founder of Business Tourism Company spoke to us about his organisation as one specialising in destination development, branding and tourism marketing strategies in emerging markets.  We focus on some of the work they have done in Rwanda enabling them to embrace the potential of MICE as a way to diversify their tourism products and look forward to the work in Ethiopia....

Ep 47: Cyril Jacob, Managing Director, Ascentis Group
In this podcast, we speak to Cyril Jacob, Managing Director at Ascentis, an engineering and project management organisation. We explore the similarities between the work he’s done in Asia and Africa; what the current challenges are for his organisation in the market and we look forward to his session on Developing Hotel Projects at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum on 24th September 2019 at Sheraton Addis, Ethiopia...


Ep 47: Cyril Jacob, Managing Director, Ascentis Group
In this podcast, we speak to Cyril Jacob, Managing Director at Ascentis, an engineering and project management organisation. We explore the similarities between the work he’s done in Asia and Africa; what the current challenges are for his organisation in the market and we look forward to his session on Developing Hotel Projects at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum on 24th September 2019 at Sheraton Addis, Ethiopia...

Ep 46: Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder & Chairman, APO Group
This podcast with Nicolas looks at the changing role of media in Africa.  We discuss the investment into the sector and the impact this is having on local media, discuss the impact this will have and explore the role of media portraying the continent.  We also discussed the APO/AHIF partnership and what this will look to achieve – not least bringing interesting new speakers to the conference such as Amadou Gallo Fall, Vice President of National Basketball Association (NBA) and President of the Basketball Af...

Ep 45: Jameel Verjee, Founder & CEO, CityBlue Hotels
In this podcast, we explore more about the CityBlue Hotels concepts and look at what plans it has as an African brand. Explore the challenges for the brand and the opportunities that come from being a regional player. Finally, we discuss Jameel’s coming session at the African Hotel Investment Forum and look at their needs as a regional brand and the types of deals they are considering....


Ep 44: How commercial and DFI banks view financing, requirements for banks and cross border lending
In this podcast, we talk to Fabio Nava, Vice President of Capital Markets, JLL (Hotels and Hospitality) and Wayne Godwin, Head of Hotel Advisory in Sub-Saharan Africa from JLL who, as part of their survey into the current investment sentiments, are producing an independent report on the current state of debt financing and hotel lending across Africa. We discussed how commercial and DFI banks view financing, requirements for banks, cross border lending, portfolio, and single asset lending requirements, tax i...

Ep 41: James Stuart, Founder of Stuart & Partners
In this Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) podcast, we speak to the Founder of Stuart & Partners, James Stuart about his work in the African hospitality market. Working closely with local independent hoteliers and helping them develop their own brand we explore why the African market is so important for him, the comparisons to this continent to his work previously in Asia and how he expects the African market to develop....

Ep 43: African Hotel Performance Data from Q1 2019
In this podcast I talk to Thomas Emanuel, Director of STR, looking at the African hotel performance data from Q1 2019.  We also look at the pipeline data and discuss the markets that are looking strong across the continent....


Ep 42: The 2019 Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa with Trevor Ward
This Africa Hotel Investment Forum podcast speaks to Trevor Ward, Owner and Managing Director of W Hospitality Group about the recent publication of the 2019 Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa. I asked Trevor about the findings of the report – what it tells us about branded development across Africa – which countries are leading and what it tells us about the key international and regional brands strategies...

Special Feature: Panos Loupasis, Vice President of Development, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
In this podcast, we talk to Panos Loupasis the Vice President of Development for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Panos covers Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia for development so we explore how the brand looks to develop geographically. The podcast also explores the plans for the company and what products work for these markets.  Finally, at the AHIC conference, Panos was presenting the Ramada Encore product at the 3-minute pitch session so he outlines this brand and why it is good for the Middle East and Afr...

Ep 40: South African markets from a growth perspective
In the first podcast of AHIF 2019, we speak to Daniel Silke, Director of Political Futures Consultancy, before he presents his keynote session at the AHIF Regional Briefing in Cape Town on April 24th. Daniel has been a keynote speaker of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum previously and will present on the Headwinds and Tailwinds of the African economy at the briefing.  In this podcast we discuss whether the slower global growth will affect Africa, understand more about which regions he expects will sustain ...


Ep 39: Jean Perrochon, Commercial Director, Bench Events
A new addition to the Bench Events family to drive the company’s ambitions in Africa and the Middle East. Jean Perrochon brings with him valuable insight having worked closely with the investment community in the city of London and spent over 20 years of his life in Côte d'Ivoire....


Ep 01: Thomas Emanuel, Director of Business Development, STR
In this podcast, Thomas Emanuel, Director of Business Development at STR, gives a quick update on the African market. He presents some of the recent findings shared at the AHIF event in Kenya and then, with the recent launch of the FIHA – Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain, digs deeper into some of the Francophone markets and why they are at an exciting stage of development....

Ep 37: Rene Laks, Managing Director South Africa at Solarus Sunpower
In this podcast, we speak to our new sponsors Solarus Sunpower’s Managing Director for Sub Saharan Africa, René Laks. Solarus Sunpower are supporting the AHIF debate on Efficient Building Investment and we asked René what, to date, have been the successes in the hospitality sector and the goals for the business. During the SPACE Seminar, we shall be exploring the practicalities of investing into solutions like solar power and the expected payback time as well – René explains some of the challenges and misco...


Ep 36: Daniel Silke, Director of Political Futures Consultancy
Daniel Silke, Director of Political Futures Consultancy and AHIF’s Keynote speaker this year is always special to listen to and, in this podcast, we explore how the current world economic situation is influencing Africa. This podcast explores how Africa is responding to the current trade wars globally through to the effects of Chinese economic slowdown. Is Africa showing resilience or is it being battered by the headwinds?...

Ep 35: Amos Wekesa Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Great Lakes Safaris
Amos Wekesa, Founder and CEO of Great Lakes Safaris spoke to us about his business and the goals for it.  As a true entrepreneur of the tourism industry what he felt the potential is for the leisure market in Africa and how he, as an influencer, can now do to promote further investment into the sector and to support Uganda’s recovery as a destination....

Ep 34: Bani Haddad - Founder & Managing Director at Aleph Hospitality
In this podcast, we talked to Bani Haddad, Founder and Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality about his journey to setting up his 3-year-old business and why he has concentrated his efforts into the African market. We also asked Bani to talk us through all the different types of management models open to owners and to explain why the 3rd party operator model is such a potentially good one for the African market....


Ep 33: Nick van Marken, Industry Executive
Nick Van Marken, former global head of hospitality for Deloitte, is one of the hotel investment industries most well-known faces. He is currently doing independent work across Africa and, in this podcast, we asked him about what has been keeping him busy since retiring and what is driving his interest in Africa. Nick is moderating a session on Growing the African Brand at AHIF and we asked him why the recent Onomo deal is an important stepping stone for the African market. And, with him interviewing both CE...

Ep 32: David Harper, Head of Property Services at Hotel Partners Africa
David Harper, Head of Property Services at Hotel Partners Africa shares his take on the African market and the Ethiopian business potential. Hotel Partners Africa operates in 50 African countries and 175 countries globally. In this podcast, David also talks about his trip to Antarctica for his 50th birthday! Don't forget to subscribe to receive more hotel investment podcasts....

Ep 31: Wayne Godwin, Vice President, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, JLL
In this podcast, Wayne Godwin, Vice President, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, JLL discusses the impact of market fundamentals in Africa on different categories of investors and their sentiments. He also explains the future of the hotel industry in South Africa for next 3 years based on predictions by economists and recent political changes. Don't forget to subscribe to receive more hotel investment podcasts!...


Ep. 30: Kamil Abdul-Karim, MD Pam Golding Hospitality
In this podcast, Kamil Abdul-Karim, MD of Pam Golding Hospitality, discusses the impact that the recent political changes in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa have had on hotel demand.   As a key advisory firm for the South Africa region Kamil has noted that almost immediately there has been a positive change and he's had to rework predictions immediately.  However, in this podcast we explore the lasting nature of change and whether this is a false dawn in positive sentiments.   Don't forget to subscribe ...

Ep. 29 - Trevor Ward, Managing Director of W Hospitality Group
Managing Director at W Hospitality, Trevor Ward, speaks with Bench Events UK MD Matthew Weihs giving an overview of the Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa Report which is in it's 9th year. Speaking on the importance of the report, Mr Ward touches on the benefit for investors as well as how the report takes into account future events that may not happen and the themes of 2016. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www....

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Ep. 28: Trevor Ward, Managing Director at W Hospitality
Managing Director at W Hospitality, Trevor Ward, speaks with Bench Events UK MD Matthew Weihs giving an overview of the Hotel Chain Development Pipelines in Africa Report which is in it's 9th year. Speaking on the importance of the report, Mr Ward touches on the benefit for investors as well as how the report takes into account future events that may not happen and the themes of 2016. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www....


Ep. 27: Saleh Said, Director of Pennyroyal Gibraltar Limited
In this podcast Bench Events Managing Director, Matthew Weihs talks to Saleh Said, Director of Pennyroyal Gibraltar Limited. Discussing what is likely to be one of the biggest deals done in East Africa, they talk about the strategy behind and challenges faced the by development of the Zanzibar Amber Resort. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.com....

Ep. 26: Elie Younes, Executive Vice President, the Rezidor Hotel Group
In this podcast Bench Events Managing Director, Matthew Weihs talks to Elie Younes, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Rezidor Hotel Group. Weeks before the Rezidor Hotel Group hosts the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Kigali they speak about the Africa as an investment destination, the consumption and control of energy and the group’s vision for Africa. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.afr...

Ep. 25: Manish Shrivastava, Co-founder, Travel Commerce Solutions
Jon Howell, Aviation Specialist at Bench events, recently met with Manish Shrivastava, Co-founder, Travel Commerce Solutions. Manish is a trainer for IATA and has over 15 years of travel industry experience. Travel Commerce Solutions are developing e-commerce solutions for the travel industry. They aim to assist airlines to achieve product differentiation and portfolio optimisation whilst elevating customer experience and loyalty.  He will also be running a workshop at AVIADEV 2016 - please visit http://www...


Ep. 24: Patrick Fitzgibbon, SVP Development EMEA, Hilton
Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development EMEA has a quick chat with Bench Events Managing Director Matthew Weihs ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2016. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.com....

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Ep. 23: Mark Martinovic, CEO At Hotel Spec
In this podcast Bench Events Managing Director, Matthew Weihs talks to Mark Martinovic, CEO at Hotel Spec, about the first ever cost benchmarking guide report for Africa. This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.com....

Ep. 22: Mark Dunford, Vice President, Sub - Saharan Africa At JLL
In this podcast Bench Events Managing Director, Matthew Weihs talks to Mark Dunford, Vice President of Sub-Saharan Africa at JLL, about the upcoming Hotel Market Outlook reports published on the Bench Events website.   This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.com....


Ep. 21: Ahmed Aly, CEO of Nile Air
During a recent trip to Cairo, Egypt, Jon Howell, Aviation development manager, gets some time with Ahmed Aly, CEO of Nile Air. Amongst other items discussed are fleet expansion plans, the opportunity that the African continent offers and the challenging market conditions that exist in the region. Jon can be reached viajon.howell@benchevents.com...

Ep. 20: Trevor Ward, Managing Director at W Hospitality
Managing Director at W Hospitality, Trevor Ward, speaks with Bench Events UK MD Matthew Weihs on the eve before the release of the 8th hotel chain development pipeline report. Speaking on the findings within the report, Mr Ward goes on to give his views on the brands contributing to the report and African brands to watch. The pair go on to discuss Nigeria being at top of the country table, further opportunities for brands with a presence within Africa, the state of the market and finally the political and e...

Ep. 19: Rui Santos, Executive Director at Tourism Development Corporation of Boavista and Maio Islands
Bench Events Event Coordinator, Joelle Mottier, talks with the Executive Director at the Tourism Development Corporation Of Boavista and Majo, Rui Santos, discussing foreign investment and the challenges faced by Cape Verde. Beginning with an overview of Cape Verde, the pair go on to talk about branded hotels and how Chinese investment of 250 million dollars impacts the tourism market. Mr Santos goes on to speak on how Cape Verde can make itself a better known destination listing air connectivity as a key f...


Ep. 18: Lamine Sebogo, Head of Elephant Conservation, WWF
Lamine Sebogo is Head of the Elephant Conservation program for the WWF. Sitting down with Bench Events CEO, Jonathan Worsley, at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2015 in Addis Ababa, the pair discuss the real facts about the elephant poaching crisis. Covering the poverty, global demand and money that is fuelling the trade, Mr Sebogo talks about how the hotel industry can stop the slaughter of approximately 30,000 elephants being poached every year. This podcast is part of an official series supporti...

Ep. 17: Jon Howell, Aviation Specialist, Bench Events
Hear more about the increased activity from Middle Eastern carriers and some successes from local carriers such as Ethiopian Airways, using Addis Ababa as a hub.  The growth of African middle class consumers has also given birth to low cost carriers such as FastJet as well as three other players in the region.  Jon can be reached via jon.howell@benchevents.com.   This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.co...

Ep. 16: Mario Fulgoni, CEO, Air Djibouti
The focus moves quickly to the fast vs slow rise of low cost carriers in Africa and some of the institutional challenges that may be holding the low cost opportunity back.  What do African national carriers need to do with their routes, landing fees, fuel costs, etc to help build out a similar market to Europe, the US and Asia?  Hear Mario’s thoughts on these issues as well as how he defines Air Djibouti in terms of its business model and its future in passenger services. This podcast is part of an officia...


Ep. 15: Jonathan Hubbard, Head of Investor Services EMA, JLL
Bench Events UK MD Matthew Weihs talks to Jonathan Hubbard about how Africa may be the “next big story” as the world economy moves away from a period of difficulty. The demographic and economic story continues to evolve in Africa and Jonathan talks about how that will attract brands and financial support as supply increases in Africa. The conversation heads towards the long term view for institutional investors and local partners.  The development market, currently at $2 billion dollars a year, is the focu...

Ep. 14: Valentina Zeisler, VP, DEG Development Bank
Ms Zeisler speaks on the rich wildlife in the region and the option for tourists to stay longer, impacting spending and lowering relative C02 emissions.  She also speaks on the some the work that needs to be done by the airline carriers to increase the flow of travellers into the region. From an investment perspective, Valentina highlights an aggregated fund that pools together a series of independent lodges that form a larger more attractive fund for investors that may otherwise find an independant lodge ...

Ep. 13: Wayne Troughton, CEO, HTI Consulting
From new operators in the marketplace to an increasing plethora of options for stakeholders at all levels in the ecosystem, this conversation covers the results of a survey aimed at helping investors navigate these factors. There is special focus on East Africa as well as ideal hotel sizes as relates to franchise models and management contracts.  Additionally, Mr Troughton speaks on the need for operator offices on the ground in local markets and how a recent increase in that trend is helping the industry ...


Ep. 12: Frank Murangwe, Head of MICE, Rwandan Development Board
In this brief discussion, Mr Murangwe speaks on his excitement for Rwanda’s progress, including several leisure products coming on to the market and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) itself coming to Rwanda in 2016.  Currently 9.1% of Rwanda’s GDP comes from travel and tourism - however the MICE strategy outlined in this podcast details how they hope to increase that. The discussion also moves towards the preservation and conservation of Rwanda’s fantastic natural wildlife, from Gorillas to Lions an...

Ep. 11: Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism for Zimbabwe
Playing devil’s advocate, Minister Mzembi shares what he thinks are the perceptions of external source markets on Africa, and how these can be turned into positives to help change the brand of the continent.   New developments in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls airport will see an additional 8 billion arrivals into the country, an expansion which Minister Mzembi calls the biggest game changer for Zimbabwe.   Going forward, Minister Mzembi talks about the importance to connect the Victoria Falls air force to t...

Ep. 10: Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture for the Seychelles
Despite seeing an 18% increase for tourism in the Seychelles last year, he raises the following points:   Is that enough? Will that sustain Seychelles in the long term?   Recalling the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup song ‘This Is Africa’, Minister St.Ange says that this is a message that speaks clear to him, and hopes that it will help to bring Africa to the next level in unity.   In the podcast, Minister St. Ange addresses the challenges around air connectivity remains a major challenge, and that m...


Ep. 9: Charles Joseph, High Commissioner for Namibia
In particular he addresses the portrayal of Africa as one big country, entirely conflicted by problems of famine, corruption, poverty and instability.   Since gaining its Independence in 1990, Namibia has diversified the scope of what it has to offer, thus gaining momentum as a conference, filming and overall tourist destination.   The next step is to debunk the dated notions that currently exist and push forward true perceptions of Africa, by showing that it has more to offer than what is currently dep...

Ep. 8: Rachel Markham on using social media to fight stereotypes
Speaking at the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) Brand Africa Conference in Accra, 17 year-old social media guru, Rachel Markham sits for a quick chat with Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of Bench Events.   Her website, The Africa The Media Never Shows You intends to push and encourage Africans to join together in fighting back stereotypes and investing more into Africa.   Her campaign’s Twitter page @showcase_africa, showcases Africa’s rich culture and natural beauty using the hashtag...

Ep. 7: Sandra Carvao, Moderator, UNWTO Brand Africa Conference
She raises the positive effects of the coming together of different sectors to help communicate a renewed image of Africa.   Africa’s image is still shaped by negative factors, such as war, famine and instability, and so it is important for the entire continent to work together in portraying the positive realities that are often overlooked.   This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF). To attend, please visit www.africa-conference.com....


Ep. 6: Chris Diaz, Marketing Director, Kenya Airways
He marks the clear objectives that will position Africa more strongly and positively to the rest of the world, thus creating a new ‘brand’ entirely.   He emphasises that by key airlines such as Kenya Airways, South African Airlines and Rwandair are connecting Africa to the rest of the world, thus opening the door to investors and tourism, and for leaders to exchange culture and build new concepts through technology.   This podcast is part of an official series supporting the Africa Hotel Investment Foru...

Ep. 5: Matthew Weihs Arrives in Ghana for Brand Africa
In his second podcast from his travels in Africa, Matthew Weihs prepares for the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) brand exercise in Ghana. Held in Accra, the UNWTO Brand Africa Conference aims to fight the negative stereotypes associated with the African continent. In this podcast, Matthew discusses his major findings on why so many business are still sceptical of expanding their business into Africa. His discoveries show that 71% of individuals that he spoke with are still hugely infl...

Ep. 4: Regis Isheja, TV Presenter for Rise and Shine Rwanda with Matthew Weihs
Regis spoke on the next 5 years, Kigali as a “constantly moving” city, improvements in safety and foreign direct investment.  Regis is also very positive about the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) coming to Rwanda in 2016.  For more information on AHIF, please visit www.africa-conference.com....


Ep. 2: John Mirenge, CEO of RwandAir, talks to Matthew Weihs
John Mirenge is the CEO of RwandAir, currently transporting half a million passengers worldwide.  Bench Events MD, Matthew Weihs, records his second podcast in Kigali, Rwanda, with Mr Mirenge to talk over some of the following points: Growing 5 fold in the last 5 years The race to a million passengers by 2018 Competing with other large scale African airline carriers African business travel into China Development and improvements within the current airport and new airports The i...

Ep. 1: An Introduction to Rwanda with Matthew Weihs
Matthew shares insight into the region’s tourism and growth.  He talks about the “hidden gem” nature of Rwanda and the ease of doing business as it grows as an ambitious hub for Africa. The Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) will be held here in 2016.  Hotel Des Mille Collines by Kempinski was a deal done by the Rwandan Development Board at a previous AHIF - so now the event comes full circle.  A great short introduction to the region and what to expect in 2016.  Information on AHIF can be found at www.a...