2017 Programme

Day 3: Thursday 12 October 2017

8:30 - 9:30

Networking

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Morning Refreshments

9:00 - 9:15
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Welcome Back

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Matthew Weihs
Managing Director - Bench Events

Matthew Weihs

Managing Director - Bench Events

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Matthew Weihs is Managing Director of Bench Events. Within this role he focuses on the development of new business opportunities and sales for Bench Events and partners, whilst also supporting the direction of the business and providing commercial support for new product launches.
With over 15 years experience in B2B conferencing with Guardian News and Media, IQPC and now Bench Events his main responsibilities have been to manage the sales across the portfolio, deliver the projects to the high standards our customers expect and to find new development opportunities for the business. In 2012 he successfully founded and launched the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and in 2013 he launched the Morocco Tourism Investment Forum (MTIF) - an invitation only event for the industry. 2014 will see the launch of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF), the latest addition to the Bench Events hotel investment conference portfolio.

9:15 - 10:15
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Innovation & Trends in Hospitality

Innovations and trends impacting hospitality

What innovations and technologies are shaping the hotel of tomorrow? What emerging trends and disruptors will be influencing the strategic decisions of developers, owners and operators over the next decade?

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Gillian Saunders
Global Leader, Hospitality & Tourism - Grant Thornton

Gillian Saunders

Global Leader, Hospitality & Tourism - Grant Thornton

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Gillian Saunders is Global Leader Hospitality and Tourism for Grant Thornton, and Head of Grant Thornton Advisory Services in South Africa. She holds a BSC (Hons) from Surrey  in hotel, catering and tourism management and an MBA. Gillian has a long track record, of more than 25 years in her speciality: consulting to the hospitality, tourism  and leisure industries. In 2012 Gillian was appointed Global Sector Leader, Hotels and Tourism for Grant Thornton and leads a team of experts in various fields from over 25 countries. Gillian has consulted extensively in all aspects of these industries for the public and private sector through-out Africa. Prior to consulting she worked in the industry in Europe and South Africa,  with stints with  EUREST (a contract catering subsidiary of Nestle and Wagon Lits), in France, and with Sheraton in Germany and Switzerland, before joining the Southern Sun Group in South Africa in 1982. Gillian is the author of a number of articles and a regular commentator in the media, particularly on mega events. She is  Chairperson of the board of the University of Johannesburg’s Kerzner School of Tourism and Hospitality and is passionate about education and education in the Hospitality and Tourism sector .

Brands Innovation Update

From international to local, mainstream to boutique – hear from the hottest new brands on what they are doing differently in terms of innovation, technology, branding and their offering to adapt to the modern consumer. What are their strategies for the continent?

Vīb
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Karl de Lacy
International Development Director - Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Karl de Lacy

International Development Director - Best Western Hotels & Resorts

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Karl is responsible for the development of the Best Western brands in Africa.  Following a BA (Hons) in Hospitality Business Management from the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies (now University College Birmingham) he began his hospitality career with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in Atlanta Georgia and St. Louis Missouri.  He returned to Ireland as Director of Rooms Operations with Marriott International.  Since joining Best Western the brand has opened a selection of Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier hotels in Kenya, Nigeria, Benin & Ghana joining existing properties in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.  With two hotels coming in Addis Ababa and projects in destinations throughout Africa (Stone Town, Zanzibar; Entebbe, Uganda and projects in Ghana and Nigeria) Best Western continues to grow its presence and activities in the region.

Latitude Hotels
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Paul Mack
Executive Director - The Latitude Hotels Group

Paul Mack

Executive Director - The Latitude Hotels Group

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Paul Mack is an executive director of The Latitude Hotels Group www.thelatitudehotels.com.  Latitude is an award winning group that is building a series of boutique hotels across sub-Saharan Africa that cater to business & tourist travellers, corporate, NGO and local visitors alike.  Latitude has focussed on a work-stay-play concept including members’ clubs www.theothersideclub.com, co-working spaces, bars / restaurants and relaxation / spa services.  Hotels have been built in Malawi and Zambia, are under construction in Uganda and Latitude also has a pipeline including Kenya, Ethiopia and other SSA countries.  

10:15 - 10:45
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Innovating Through Acquisitions

A look at the changing business model of the hotel operator - how are businesses adapting to tackle disruptive forces in the industry?

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Steven Daines
CEO HotelServices Africa and Middle East & CEO New Businesses - AccorHotels

Steven Daines

CEO HotelServices Africa and Middle East & CEO New Businesses - AccorHotels

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Aged 48, Steven is of both British and French nationalities. He is a graduate of the University of Geneva and holds an MBA in Hospitality Management from ESSEC.

Steven started his career with Accor in 1994. He joined the Group via Compagnie des Wagons-Lits where he held various operational positions in France and internationally between 1994 and 2005. He then switched to Accor's Hotel Operations and in 2008 he was appointed Managing Director for Accor’s economic brands in Latin America, based in Sao Paulo. In 2012, he was named Managing Director Ibis Budget and HotelF1 France.

Since April 2014, he was CEO Accor HotelServices for Northern Europe and Russia and member of the Accor Hotels Group Executive Committee.

On January 1st, 2017, he was appointed CEO Accor HotelServices Africa and Middle East and CEO New Businesses.

10:45 - 11:30
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A Stakeholder’s Round Table : Balancing Owners’ and Operators’ Needs

An open discussion on the interests, needs and requirements of various stakeholders in hotel development. What do developers and owners need to provide to attract the big operators? Why are brand standards necessary and what value do they add? A look at the risk-reward balance between owners and operators. What are the best ways to maintain a mutually-beneficial relationship?

Maha Abayazid, Director of Investor Relations, Middle East & Africa, Kempinski Hotels

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Maha Abayazid
Director of Investor Relations, Middle East & Africa - Kempinski Hotels

Maha Abayazid

Director of Investor Relations, Middle East & Africa - Kempinski Hotels

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Maha has played an important role in the growth of Kempinski Hotels’ portfolio in the Middle East and Africa region. She joined the group in 2008 to support the regional President and was promoted to Development Manager in 2011 where she continued to work on large scale development opportunities and projects.

Throughout this time, her strong networking and interpersonal skills allowed her to build exceptional relationships with key decision makers and owners in the region.

The combination of Maha’s personality, the insight gained from her long-term experience working for the company, and the competencies she has acquired whilst working in the Development department have led to her promotion in 2014 to Director, in charge of Investor Relations.

The specialized role of Investor Relations is to generate project leads by managing the group’s network of investors, owners and developers, creating development opportunities by linking investors with suitable projects, aligning business objectives between the parties, and ensuring that opportunities get converted into qualified leads.

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Shamil Manek
Executive Director - The Merwest Company

Shamil Manek

Executive Director - The Merwest Company

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After completing degrees in Business Administration & Economics at University in Pennsylvania, Shamil moved back to Kenya to join the family business and took charge of developing commercial & residential properties in the region on their behalf. Having little experience in the hospitality field, opportunities to diversify were rife and along with a partner sought to develop one of the first non-Government owned fully American branded hotels in Nairobi, the Best Western Premier Nairobi, this also launched of the brand in the region. This property was converted to a Four Points by Sheraton in April 2017 as Marriott & Starwood’s first property in Kenya. Currently they are developing other properties including the first airport hotel in Nairobi, the Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport which is set to open in Q3 2017. Shamil further is involved with other parts of the family business, which include motor vehicle trade, financial services and logistics among others.

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Haddis Tilahun
Founder & Executive Director - United Africa Group (Pty) Ltd

Haddis Tilahun

Founder & Executive Director - United Africa Group (Pty) Ltd

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Haddis Tilahun is the Founder & Executive Director of the United Africa Group, a privately owned Namibian business conglomerate worth R1.8 Billion which has been in operation since 1992. While the Hospitality portfolio is the pinnacle of his business, financial services, property development, as well as renewable energy are ventures that the group has also pursued with success.
In 2001, United Africa Hospitality was established shortly after which a partnership with Protea Hotels South Africa was formed. United Africa Hospitality owns over 8 Protea branded hotels countrywide. UAG holds the master franchise for Protea Hotels in Namibia, Ethiopia and partly Angola. In May 2011 United Africa Group opened the doors to the first five star Hotel in Namibia which is built on the collective strength of brand power and the remarkable growth of the Namibian hospitality industry.
Haddis’ entrepreneurial drive and desire for innovation has led the Group to explore new Grounds in the Casino business. Consequently, in June 2015 the Plaza Casino, the first ever 100% Namibian owned and managed casino opened its doors to the public.
Tilahun aims at transforming the skyline of Windhoek in 2017 to a cosmopolitan one by developing the 4 star Hilton Garden Inn as well as the 1990 a mixed-use property development which will consist of high end apartments, penthouses and retail shops.
Haddis completed his tertiary education in the USA shortly thereafter he relocated to Namibia in 1990. His focus is on growth and development which has enabled the group to develop projects that have improved and enhanced both the country and the human experience in Africa. His mantra of “growth through quality, innovation and market consolidation has led the Group to success over the years.
In addition to his involvement in the running of the Untied Africa Group, Haddis holds the positions of Chairman, Director and Board member in a number of reputable business organizations such as:
 Protea Hotels Namibia a division of the United Africa Group (Pty) Ltd;
 Owner of the Hilton Windhoek;
 Chairman of Actom Namibia
 Chairman of Diaz Wind Power
 Chairman Liberty Life Namibia
 Chairman of Samaki Fishing Enterprises
 Honoree Consul of Democratic Republic of Congo to Namibia
 Trustee of Namibian Housing Trust Fund
 Trustee of Tilahun Family Trust
 Trustee of Namundjebo Family Trust Fund
Haddis attributes his success to the great business partnership with his wife & friend Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun who is 50% co-owner and Chairperson of the United Africa Group. Martha is in her own right a successful business woman who has been recognized both in Namibia and internationally, together Haddis & Martha have three children.

11:30 - 12:00

Networking

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COFFEE BREAK

12:00 - 13:30
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Finance Forum

Transactions

What transactions have we seen in the last 12 months? What is the investment sentiment in the market currently and looking forward? A look at buyer profiles in the region

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Xander Nijnens
Senior Vice President, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa - JLL

Xander Nijnens

Senior Vice President, Hotels & Hospitality Group, Sub-Saharan Africa - JLL

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Xander is Head of JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group in Sub-Saharan Africa and leads assignments and projects in the region. Xander focuses on delivering Strategic Advisory, Investment Sales, Financing and Asset Management services to local, regional and global clients across the region.
Xander has over 11 years of experience in hotel advisory, investment and operations in 20+ countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean region. His broad range of hotel experience includes corporate finance, capital markets, asset management, strategy and development and he has wide experience across all market segments from budget to luxury hotels. 
Xander joined the team at JLL in January 2015, prior to which he was managing director of a third party hotel operator with various global brands under management in South Africa. Previous appointments include Asset Manager and Chief Analyst at Africa’s first real estate investment trust specialised in hotels and Consultant at Horwath HTL. He is a graduate of Hotel School The Hague and has further education in real estate, company law and finance.

In conversation with:

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Ewan Cameron
Director – Africa - Westmont Hospitality

Ewan Cameron

Director – Africa - Westmont Hospitality

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Ewan Cameron leads Westmont Hospitality’s Operations and Development in Africa.

Ewan has previously held senior roles with IHG, African Sun and Lonrho Hotels;

- VP Franchise Operations, EMEA, InterContinental Hotels Group
- Head of Development Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group
- Managing Director (Non Zimbabwe) African Sun Hotels
- CEO Lonrho Hotels  

Sourcing Finance – What are the options?

What types of finance are available in the region? As the industry matures and debt funding remains exceptionally tight, what new sources of funding are coming into the market? A look at the potential pools of capital. 

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Kunal Ajmera
Chief Operating Officer - Grant Thornton Kenya

Kunal Ajmera

Chief Operating Officer - Grant Thornton Kenya

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Kunal Ajmera is Chief Operating Officer of Grant Thornton Kenya and looks after Business development, Branding, Marketing and New clients in the firm.

He is a member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK and has more than 10 years of experience of working in a professional service firm.  Prior to working for a professional service firm Kunal spent 4 years working for a large travel firm in UK as a sales consultant. He loves Travelling, Photography and spending time with his son.

In conversation with:

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Ilaria Benucci
Investment Director, Equity Investments - CDC Group

Ilaria Benucci

Investment Director, Equity Investments - CDC Group

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Ilaria joined CDC in 2013 from AIG Global Real Estate where she was responsible for investments in Emerging Europe, Russia and Turkey. Before AIG, she spent over 10 years at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development where she was leading the Property and Tourism Team and also worked on banks’ privatisations and equity investments. Ilaria started her career at Citibank corporate finance group. 

Demystifying the DFI’s

What is required to secure funding from the development finance institutions?

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Julien Lefilleur
Head of MAS Division - Proparco

Julien Lefilleur

Head of MAS Division - Proparco

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Julien Lefilleur joined PROPARCO in 2004. After having occupied several positions, he opened in 2010 PROPARCO’s regional office for West Africa, based in Abidjan. Since 2014, he is head of Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services Department.
Julien Lefilleur is also the founder and editor-in-chief of PROPARCO’s magazine Private Sector & Development. He is a graduate of École centrale de Paris with a PhD in Economics from the Sorbonne University.

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Suresh Samuel
Managing Director, Africa - Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Suresh Samuel

Managing Director, Africa - Overseas Private Investment Corporation

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Suresh Samuel is Managing Director for Africa at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) where he is responsible for managing business development activities for project and corporate finance, political risk insurance and private equity investments.  Previously, Mr. Samuel worked in OPIC’s Structured Finance department where he was responsible for the underwriting and execution of investments in the energy, infrastructure, healthcare, banking, and agribusiness sectors.  He has executed over $1 billion of transactions at OPIC with clients in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.  Mr. Samuel is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

13:30 - 14:30

Networking

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NETWORKING LUNCH