Category Archives: Events

Togo To Host Additional AHIF In 2016 As Airport And Port Development Boost Economic Growth

Togo is to host an additional Africa Hotel Investment Forum [AHIF] in spring 2016 reflecting the country’s optimism for further economic expansion.

AHIF conferences bring together major international investors, business leaders, government ministers and top officials from across Africa.

The plans to host an AHIF conference in Togo’s capital Lomé next April run parallel with two major development initiatives designed to enhance the country’s standing as a strategic investment destination for business and tourism by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism of Togo.

Lomé’s new airport terminal, which was scheduled to open in late 2015, will increase passenger capacity from 400,000 to two million, and triple the international airport’s passenger and cargo potential. It will accommodate direct flights from Cairo, Turkey and Dubai. Within the next decade the expansion of the capital’s sea port will triple its capacity, to 1.2 million containers a year.

Matthew Weihs, managing director of Bench Events, which organises AHIF, said: “Our decision to host an additional AHIF conference in Lomé comes at a pivotal time for Togo. Business and tourism is growing and we’re confident this will fuel increased demand for hotel capacity. We believe the airport and port expansion will trigger other infrastructure projects, presenting significant opportunities for business and tourism. Togo is increasingly becoming an important investment destination.”

The AHIF conference will take place on 5th – 6th April at the new landmark Radisson Blu 2 Fevrier hotel in the capital. It will give delegates the chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities of investing and developing in the country.

Ashok Gupta, CEO of Kalyan Hospitality Development, Radisson Blu’s partner in the Lomé hotel, said: “What attracts us to Togo is the combination of several factors, not least the natural asset of its port with the government’s vision to create a trading hub for West Africa. Kalyan had been willing to develop activities in Africa for some time and Togo appears to be the best choice in terms of business implementation.

The support and the reactiveness shown by the Government since the very beginning made this project possible in such a short period of time. I am not surprised that Togo has been ranked by the World Bank in 2015 among the three countries that have undertaken the biggest steps in terms of business environment facilities, this is a great achievement and it has to be underlined.”

He continued: “This is an important starting point for the further extension of our hospitality segment. And the fact that Lomé is hosting an AHIF conference will complement all our ambitions. We are looking forward to some serious and fruitful discussions.”

The Radisson Blu 2 Fevrier is an upscale 320-room prestigious complex with two auditoriums, business centre, swimming pool, tennis courts and casino.

Togo attracts a variety of tourist visitors keen to explore its beautiful scenery and enjoy its tropical climate. Latest figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council show that travel and tourism directly accounted for 3.1% of total GDP in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 6% in 2015, and by a further 2.2% each year from 2015 to 2025. On a wider analysis, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 6.7% in 2014 and is forecast to rise by 5.4% by the end of 2015.

Bernadette Essossimna Legzim-Balouki, Togo’s Minister for Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism said: “Our government is keen to see sustainable economic growth, and travel and tourism is a major contributor to that effort. Of course we face a number of challenges, and discussion between government and business, such as at AHIF, will help us find the best way forward.”

Elie Younes, EVP & Chief Development Officer of Carlson Rezidor, which manages the Hotel 2 Fevrier, concluded: “The emerging market of Africa is one of our key focus growth areas. We have high expectations for the AHIF conference this year based on its track record of attracting high-calibre speakers and delegates. I look forward to this prominent educational and a deal-making event”

Kwabena, Kasapreko Chairman Bags Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur Award

Dr. Kwabena Adjei, Founder/Chairman of Kasapreko Limited has been awarded Master Entrepreneur of the Year in the West African edition of the Ernst & Young [EY] World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria on February 5, 2016.

His firm, Kasapreko Company Limited based in Accra, Ghana is the maker of authentic Alomo Bitters – the brand named by CNN as one of the top 5 emerging drink brands in the world recently, and has seen major success across West Africa and beyond at the 5th edition of the award.

The World Entrepreneur of the Year Award programme was created by Ernst & Young to recognise the accomplishments of entrepreneurs with Award programmes in more than 60 countries around the globe.
Members of this elite community are exceptional leaders, who defy the status quo, drive innovation, create jobs and transform economies.

In the wake of all his achievements, Adjei recently launched a $70m state of the art bottling plant for Kasapreko in Ghana, which will churn out hundreds of thousands of bottles a day, of a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks which include Kalahari Bitters and Carnival Strawberry.

The award was launched in West Africa in 2011, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award programme is about honouring and celebrating entrepreneurs who have combined ingenuity, hard-work and perseverance to create and successfully sustained growing businesses and has enjoyed international recognition for the past 30 years.

EY started the Entrepreneur of the Year awards programme in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States, to celebrate successful entrepreneurs, so they could share their stories, inspire others and receive the recognition they deserve. By 1987, it was held across 11 cities, and by 1993, the programme started to expand internationally.

In 2000, EY went global and started World Entrepreneur of the Year. Held annually in Monaco, Entrepreneur of the Year country winners compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year title.

Today, the programme spans more than 150 cities in 50 countries, which together represent more than 90 per cent of the global economy.

Meanwhile, there are three major categories of Awards, while two are competed for; one is more or less an honorary award.

In West Africa chapter of the programme, the Awards are: Master Entrepreneur category; Emerging Entrepreneur category and Life-time Achievement Award.

The Master and Emerging are competed for, while the Life-time Achievement Award is given to individuals, who have built great business empires over the years.

Dr. Adjei also paid a courtesy visit on Ghana High Commission in Nigeria, Lagos Consulate, where he was received by Mr. Kwabena O. Appiah, Consul-general.

The Consul-general praised the chairman of Kasapreko for being Ghana’s worthy ambassador, as well as a brief stop-over at the prestigious Lagos Business School where he was received by the school’s Associate Director, Executive Education, Bridget Chukwumah.

Past winners of the Master Entrepreneur of the Year category include AigbojeAig-Imoukhuede, former Group Managing Director of Access Bank [2011]; Alhaji Aliko Dangote [2012]; Mr. Austin Avuru, Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc [2013] and Jubril Adewale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc [2014].

Zimbabwe’s Annual Sanganai Tourism Fair Holds In June

Zimbabwe’s annual international tourism fair, “Sanganai Hlanganani,” will this year take place in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, from June 16-18. The location will be the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre [ZIEC] which sits on 17 hectares of land and offers some 55,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor spaces spread across 6 major halls and dozens of pavilions.

The move is aimed to facilitate a larger number of stands since at the 2015 edition, though setting a new record number of 328 participating exhibitors, at least 10 foreign companies failed to secure space after both conference centre floors inside the Rainbow Towers and Conference Centre and the outdoor tents had sold out.

Information received earlier in the week suggests that already some 85 companies and organizations have booked their stand space at ZIEC, including the Kenya Tourism Board and exhibitors from South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, and Egypt. Going by the attendance of last year, many more companies and organizations will sign up to participate in this Southern African tourism exhibition, including from countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, and Ethiopia.

Officials from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] are also expecting that the number of hosted buyers will rise again, after reaching 110 last year, which is crucially important as they are the ones generating business for Zimbabwe’s safari and tour operators and the safari lodges and hotels across the country.

ZTA officials have also confirmed that international travel and tourism media representatives will again be invited to showcase the country which continues to struggle with negative perception and selective boycotts, posing challenges for the local tourism industry.

In the face of such action, Zimbabwe has done the smart thing, making travel to the country even easier through targeted changes in their visa policy. Most Western nationals take the option to obtain a visa on arrival at one of the lowest fees on the continent at just US$30 for a single entry visa or US$50 for the combined Zimbabwe/Zambia “UniVisa” which allows visits to both countries and repeated border crossings between the two, as safari itineraries make it necessary.

The UN World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] in their latest data release, ranks Zimbabwe as the 29th country out of 54 selected for their progress made in facilitating international travel over the past 5 years, after changing a total of 117 regulations resulting in progressively rising visitor numbers again.

These changes are largely attributed to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Walter Mzembi, now the longest-serving African tourism minister, who has taken these initiatives not only to the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, but has also managed to put it on the agenda of the African Union.

While AU member state Seychelles stands out for requiring no visa at all, from any nationality across the globe, efforts are now underway at the AU level to progressively lift visa requirements for citizens of African Union member states to finally tap into the rich continental travel market and promote travel across Africa.

Discussed in length during the ministerial round table at last year’s Sanganai Hlanganani Tourism Fair, when ministers from Congo, Mozambique, and South Africa joined Walter Mzembi on stage, a progress review and formulation of an action plan towards that end is no doubt going to be on the agenda for the 2016 fair in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo itself, also known as the City of the Kings, is within easy reach of the “Great Zimbabwe” monuments, the Matobo National Park, and Hwange National Park, and is only a half-hour flight from both Victoria Falls and the capital, Harare.

European Commission 2015 Lorenzo Natali Prize For Outstanding Journalists Held In Brussels

Tonight the European Commission honoured nine journalists reporting on development issues with the Lorenzo Natali Media Prizes. Out of more than 1400 registered participants from across the world, the nine selected journalists stood out for the quality of their journalistic work.

Their journalistic reports covered topics ranging from the e-waste economy in Ghana, to innovative farming methods in slums in Kenya, drug crime in Mexico, and child prostitution in Myanmar.

This year’s Grand Prize has been awarded to Arison Tamfu from Cameroon for his story ‘Africa’s billions might be buried forever’, published in the Cameroon Daily Journal. The story shows how the use of renewable energies is improving lives in rural communities in Africa.

Speaking about the winners, Commissioner Mimica said: “These talented journalists remind us why development and poverty eradication are so important for people’s lives around the world, as their powerful stories show. On behalf of the European Commission, I applaud and thank the winners and participants for their efforts and invaluable contributions.”

Now in its 21st edition, the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize links the EU’s conviction of freedom, democracy, and human rights with its dedication to development and poverty eradication by honouring journalists for their reports on crucial development issues in line with this year’s theme/slogan ‘Today’s stories can change our tomorrow’.

The 2015 edition of the award was organised in the context of the European Year for Development, and for the first time, the competition was open to both professional and amateur journalists, as well as bloggers.

Established in 1992 by the European Commission, the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize is awarded in memory of Lorenzo Natali, former Commissioner for Development and a staunch defender of freedom of expression, democracy, human rights and development. The Prize represents a unique opportunity to illustrate the power of great stories to change the world.

Journalists were invited to submit their work, whether it be online, print, radio, TV, or blog posts. Amateur and professional awards are given across five award categories [based on the media outlet’s location]: Africa, the Arab World and the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

An independent jury chaired by Olivier Basille [Reporters without Borders, Belgium] with members representing all five category regions and with substantial experience in the field of communication and development, were responsible for selecting the winners.

Jury members included Richard Jones [Devex], Caroline Giraud [Global Forum for Media Development], Eric Chinje [African Media Initiative], Frank la Rue [Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe] and Jefry M Tupas [newsdesk.ph, winner of the EU Peace Journalism Award].

The winning journalists received prizes of €5,000 and trophies during the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize Award Ceremony held in the Bibliothèque Solvay in Brussels (Belgium) on 14 January 2016.