Dubai-based independent hotel management company Aleph Hospitality has opened the Best Western Plus Westlands hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

The new opening, which introduces the Best Western Plus brand to one of the city’s most sought-after commercial districts, marks Aleph Hospitality’s continued expansion in Kenya, where the company has already signed management contracts for three hotels currently under development: the Protea Hotel by Marriott in Kisumu; an airport hotel in Nairobi and a property in the popular coastal resort of Mombasa.

Bani Haddad, Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality, said: “The opening of Best Western Plus Westlands signals our commitment to Kenya, the third-largest tourism economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Kenya is a popular destination in the heart of the region and its travel and tourism industry grew 5.6% in 2018, exceeding global and regional levels, according to the WTTC. We are proud to be part of this growth and to support the economy with more than 80 new jobs and the generation of additional international visitors that Best Western Plus Westlands will bring,” said Haddad.

The hotel’s owner, Amit Lukka, commented: “We are thrilled to find a partner in Aleph Hospitality that supports both our vision for Nairobi’s hospitality sector and our country’s wider efforts to market Kenya as a destination of choice.

“Aleph Hospitality is a trusted and accomplished partner that will manage the hotel on our behalf, driving maximum return on our investment as well as delivering a superior guest experience in collaboration with the prestigious global chain, Best Western. The opening on 14 December was highly anticipated by our colleagues, guests, neighbouring businesses and local dignitaries,” added Lukka.

Best Western Plus Westlands is located in the heart of Nairobi’s social and entertainment hub, the vibrant Westlands district, home to shops, restaurants and numerous corporate headquarters, making it a popular destination for Kenyans, expatriates and visitors.

Nairobi’s top attractions including the neighbouring Sarit Expo Centre, Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre are also within close reach, making the hotel ideally positioned for both business and leisure travel.

The new, purpose-built hotel features 101 stylish, air-conditioned guest rooms, including spacious Junior Suites with separate living rooms and kitchenettes and a luxurious Penthouse Suite with a private outdoor hot tub.

Best Western Plus Westlands offers free WiFi, a dedicated meetings floor, a gym and two food and beverage outlets – Craft, an all-day-dining restaurant, bar and coffee shop, and Asiatic, a stylish rooftop bar and lounge.

Suzi Yoder, Senior Vice President, International Operations, BWH Hotel Group, said: “We are truly delighted with the addition of the Best Western Plus Westlands, a beautiful new build hotel created with our guests’ needs in mind. The central location is superb for both our corporate clients and leisure travellers and we are proud to now welcome our first guests.”

Aleph Hospitality, which has earmarked a pipeline of 35 hotels in the Middle East and Africa by 2025, manages hotels directly for owners, either on a franchise basis for branded properties or as a white-label operator for independently-branded hotels.

The company operates four hotels in Africa, with six new openings already slated for 2020.

This year’s Africa Shared Value Summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 23rd and 24th of May 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Among the keynote speakers this year is American co-author of the seminal Harvard Business Review article ‘Creating Shared Value’, co-founder and managing director of FSG, and a director of the US-based Shared Value Initiative, Mark Kramer. Kramer is an economist by training and a Shared Value pioneer who has authored various influential publications on collective impact, impact investing, and more, including co-authorship of several foundational Shared Value articles.

Sponsored by Safaricom, Old Mutual and the World Food Programme, the annual Africa Shared Value Summit (www.AfricaSharedValueSummit.com) is a meeting of minds, where business leaders, entrepreneurs from both the private and public sectors, and representatives from governments, academia and civil society discuss ways in which businesses can use their power and influence to affect real change, without sacrificing profit.

The Africa Shared Value Summit raises awareness and advocates for the success of the strategic implementation of the Shared Value business model – profit with purpose – in Africa

“Purpose has to become central to a business’s core strategy in order to create true change. In order to position yourself as a market leader and gain true growth, specialisation of a new kind is required, such as finding new ways of doing things that will be more ethical and less harmful to the environment, as well as reaching underserved populations while ensuring that current and future employees are able to deliver at their best,” says Tiekie Barnard, CEO and co-Founder of the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) (www.SVAI.Africa).

The Africa Shared Value Summit raises awareness and advocates for the success of the strategic implementation of the Shared Value business model – profit with purpose – in Africa. Over two days, discussions at the 2019 Summit will be focused on the importance of Shared Value ecosystems in driving Africa’s business growth. The first day will focus on Shared Value in healthcare and food security, and the second will feature speakers and panel discussions exploring Shared Value in the energy and manufacturing industries.

“Businesses do not operate in a vacuum, and as entrepreneurs and human beings, we have a moral obligation to take on the challenges facing our continent and its population. Embracing Shared Value is the key to long-term sustainability, enabling businesses to survive and thrive in a changing business climate,” says Cindy Langeveld, co-Founder & Director of the Shared Value Africa Initiative.

Other speakers will include members of the SVAI Africa Council of 8, Safaricom CEO Robert “Bob” Collymore and Managing Director for the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, Mamadou Biteye.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, has said that terrorist attacks such as those experienced in Kenya are deeply concerning and have no place in Africa. Mr Masango extended heartfelt condolences to the people of Kenya on behalf of the committee.

The world must root out these violent attacks and decisively deal with the conditions that provide fertile ground for them.

Two terrorist attacks have been reported in Kenya in which a number of people died.

“The world must root out these violent attacks and decisively deal with the conditions that provide fertile ground for them. The committee believes that negotiations are always preferable in resolving these issues,” Mr Masango said.

Mr Masango said terrorist attacks do not provide the stability that so essential in many African countries for accelerated economic growth. Attacks like these can lead to decline in tourism figures.

“All necessary measures should be taken to protect and assist vulnerable citizens. What happened in Kenya should not be happening, and all concerned should work hard in ensuring a safer world and a safer Africa.”

Hilton  today announced an initial investment of USD$1 million to drive sustainable travel and tourism in Africa. To do so, the company will focus on five key areas – Hilton’s Big Five:

  • Youth Opportunity: investing in training and apprenticeship programs to build a strong talent pipeline and tackle identified challenges for youth, including underemployment
  • Water Stewardship: the expansion of existing partnerships and the creation of new alliances to help Hilton achieve its goal to reduce its water consumption by 50% and activate 20 context-based water projects in at-risk communities by 2030
  • Anti-Human Trafficking: the provision of training and auditing to mitigate against human trafficking, alongside engagement with local NGOs to address the social challenges in local communities
  • Local Sourcing: the creation of partnerships to build local entrepreneurs’ capacity to deliver high quality and authentic goods and services, and integrate them into Hilton’s supply chain
  • Protecting Wildlife: the promotion of responsible wildlife-based tourism, in line with the WTTC Buenos Aires Declaration on Travel & Tourism and Illegal Wildlife Trade

This announcement follows the recent launch of Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 goals to double its investment in social impact and cut its environmental footprint in half across the globe.

Speaking at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Nairobi, Chris Nassetta Hilton’s President and CEO said: “Hilton is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact in every community where we operate. Africa is an incredibly diverse continent, with equally diverse challenges and opportunities — and as we continue to grow in the region, we are focused on doing so in a way that promotes sustainable travel and tourism. Today we are pleased to take our efforts to the next level with an initial commitment of $1 million, which will allow us to invest in and scale up initiatives that build skills among young people, mitigate risks in human trafficking, engage local entrepreneurs across our supply chain, improve water efficiencies and promote responsible wildlife-based tourism.”

“Hilton’s President and CEO’s visit to Africa is timely and sends a strong signal to environmentally conscious investors across the continent. It will set higher standards for future projects in the hospitality industry throughout Africa. Hilton’s growing interest in Africa’s promising and emerging market is a windfall for job creation among youth and will significantly contribute to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity,” Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO of the Initiative for Global Development.

“Hilton is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact in every community where we operate. Africa is an incredibly diverse continent, with equally diverse challenges and opportunities — and as we continue to grow in the region, we are focused on doing so in a way that promotes sustainable travel and tourism. Today we are pleased to take our efforts to the next level with an initial commitment of $1 million, which will allow us to invest in and scale up initiatives that build skills among young people, mitigate risks in human trafficking, engage local entrepreneurs across our supply chain, improve water efficiencies and promote responsible wildlife-based tourism.”

Hilton’s Big Five will build upon an existing foundation of partnerships and initiatives to deepen the company’s impact and to inspire positive social and environmental change across its value chain.

Hilton’s existing 41 operating hotels in Africa have carried out 460 volunteering projects since 2012 to support their communities and manage their environmental impact. Some examples include:

  • Passport to Success soft skills training developed with our global partner, the International Youth Foundation, to build competencies including problem-solving, team work and leadership skills. To date, this training has impacted close to 800 young people across Africa
  • Partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) in the Seychelles: Hilton buy from local producers focused on sustainable agriculture and the hotels also created on-property gardens that supplement their supply of fresh produce, and collectively, source over 80% of their vegetables locally
  • Soap4Hope in partnership with Diversey, bringing soap recycling to communities in need. Hilton was first to launch Soap4Hope in eight countries: Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Since 2014, more than 39 tons of soap have been recycled by 14 participating Hilton properties, creating over 7,000 bars of soap per month

Hilton has been operating continuously in Africa since 1959 and is committed to long-term sustainable growth across the continent. With 53 properties in its development pipeline Hilton expects to double its portfolio of hotels on the continent during the next five years, including entering new markets such as Botswana, Ghana, Swaziland, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.

Three iconic African fashion designers were brought on board to create 12 extraordinary outfits from vast amounts of data extracted from the cities of Nairobi, Lagos and Johannesburg.

The power of technology and fashion have combined in a thought-provoking project that demonstrates how data can transform African cities. Tech leader Siemens  (Siemens.com) used data from the cities of Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg and wove it into unique fabrics which tell a story about each city. Three iconic African fashion designers then used the fabrics to create one-of-kind outfits, which are as stylish as they are smart!

FABRIC – launched in Johannesburg on 23 August – showcases how digitalization of the industrial world is fast becoming the biggest transformation of our time, and highlights how data combined with smart technology will ensure that tomorrow’s cities are more connected, efficient and powered.

Three iconic African fashion designers were brought on board to create 12 extraordinary outfits from vast amounts of data extracted from the cities of Nairobi, Lagos and Johannesburg.  The intricate garments by John Kaveke (Kenyan), Zizi Cardow (Nigerian) and Palesa Mokubung (South African) outline a variety of patterns from power grids, shipping and tonnage to population densities, transport and areas of connectivity. Data from each of these sectors tell a powerful story about each city and how digitalization can transform them. All of this is told through the universal language of fashion and design.

As urbanization rapidly increases, cities need to start preparing for the effects it will have on infrastructure, energy, water and transportation systems

“This is how we thought to express the aspect of digitalization. As urbanization rapidly increases, cities need to start preparing for the effects it will have on infrastructure, energy, water and transportation systems,” said Keshin Govender, Group Communications Head for Siemens South Africa.

Data gives greater insight on what makes each city tick, helping us make calculated decisions and improve service delivery to the people. Through the FABRIC project, it was evident that the challenge is not what to do with the avalanche of data but rather accessing reliable and recent data.

“This project has highlighted the need for access to data in order to make sound urban planning decisions,” explained Govender.

 

 

 

Siemens is well positioned in automation, electrification and digitalization to find solutions to the various challenges of today. It is uniquely positioned to unlock the potential of digitalization through its combination of digital expertise, domain know-how and understanding of hardware in order to leverage digital technologies and optimize operations.

While there is a growing adoption of intelligent machines within certain sectors like the automotive industry, the real opportunity for Africa lies in sectors where it has not yet been explored like manufacturing, energy and transportation. This is a remarkable opportunity for Africa which will result in the establishment of new industries and new jobs, while exponentially increasing skills development and contributing to GDP.