Press Release

04 Sep 2012

Oxford Professor Identifies Africa as a New Investment Hot Spot

Ian Goldin, the Oxford University professor and former economic adviser to Nelson Mandela has named Africa as a new investment hot spot.
Speaking ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) this September 25-26 in Nairobi, where he will be describing the economic outlook for Africa in the coming decade, Professor Goldin has made six predictions that paint a promising picture of the continent from a commercial and investment point of view.

He forecasts that in the period from now to 2020:

• Africa will be the fastest growing continent
• It will experience the most rapid growth in the consumption of consumer goods
• It will have the greatest improvements in investment climate
• Africa’s population will grow to double that of Europe
• Africa will have the world’s youngest labour force and in the following decades its size will overtake China’s and India’s
• Inequality within Africa will reduce while in the rest of the world it will increase

Professor Goldin said: “The changes taking place in Africa are truly dramatic. For example, in the early 1980s, over 30 countries were ruled by autocrats and there were few democracies; by the late 1990s, that statistic was reversed. In the period 1999 – 2009, the S&P 500 fell by 0.8% year on year however; by comparison, the S&P Africa grew by over 23%".

The management consulting firm, McKinsey, is similarly up-beat. It reports that African consumer spending has risen from $860 billion in 2008 to almost $1trillion now, and will reach $1.4trillion in 2020.

Prof. Goldin continued: “Africa is now the fastest-growing technology market in the world and new IT businesses are appearing at such a rate that there are stories about a shortage of suitable office accommodation in Nairobi, which is the centre of the emerging IT industry.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, the company organising AHIF, said: “GDP growth in Africa is around 6%/ year, which is well in excess of most developed Western economies but one wonders how long that can continue. Professor Goldin will help us look in to the future and extrapolate useful implications from the major trends for the hotel sector. For example, with a rapidly growing labour force, will there be strong growth in intra-regional travel and hence a higher demand for hotel accommodation and, if so, by how much? What will happen to property prices and interest rates and what will cause the current explosion in hotel development to slow?"

These and many more questions will be answered at AHIF, which is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. It will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, Nairobi on 25-26th September, where the agenda will focus on how to capitalise long-term on the opportunities presented by Africa and strategies to overcome the challenges. For more information, go to


About AHIF
AHIF moves to a different African city every year showcasing high-growth destinations across the continent. Last year the conference was held in Morocco, attracting more than 350 delegates from 34 countries.
The full speaker line-up, featuring the who’s who of the African hotel investment community, includes
• Michael Cooper, Vice President, Development, IHG
• Jean-Marc Grosfort, Chief Development Officer, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, Inc
• Bani Haddad, Regional Vice President, Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group
• Christian Karaoglanian, Chief Development Officer, ACCOR
• Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, Inc.
• Tewolde GebreMariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines
• Peter Norman, Senior Vice President, Development & Acquisitions, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
• Uzoma Nwankwo, CEO & Managing Director, AiQ Capital Management Limited
• Rohan Patel, Director, Sankara Hotel Group Kenya Limited
• Kurt Ritter, President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group
• David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
• Kevin Teeroovengadum, Director, Actis
• Kevin Underwood, Vice President, AECOM Design + Planning
• Michelè de Witt, Director, Horwath HTL
• Anita Mendiratta, Lead Consultant, CNN T.A.S.K. Group
• Jan Van Der Putten, Vice President Africa & Indian Ocean, Hilton Worldwide
• Trevor Ward, Managing Director of W Hospitality Group
• James Wilson, Partner, International Resort Development
• ...And many others of a similar calibre...

Confirmed sponsors are as follows: 2012 Host Partner: (KTDC) Kenya Tourist Development Corporation. International Broadcast Partner: CNN. Platinum Sponsors: ACCOR, The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Marriott International, Inc and Hilton Worldwide. Gold Sponsors: AECOM Design + Planning, Africa Export Import Bank, France 24, Hotel Spec, Horwath HTL, Hyatt International LLC, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), JA Resorts & Hotels, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Kempinski Hotels, Lonrho Hotels, Premier Inn, Sankara Hotel Group, STR Global, T&L Europraxis, W Hospitality Group and Wyndham Hotel Group.

About Bench Events
In addition to the next Africa Hotel Investment Forum, Bench Events is one of the organisers and founders, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, of several well-known conferences for the hotel investment industry including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC).

Further Information
For further information and high resolution images, please visit or contact David Tarsh, Tarsh Consulting, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, Mob: +44 (0) 7770 816 070.