With the COVID-19 virus spreading and the ever-changing lockdown rules and travel restrictions for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the continent has remained steadfast with optimism for its hospitality and tourism sectors. This has been further reinforced by the increasing number of major multinational corporations either setting up their operations within Africa or expanding their operations over the entire continent.
The plan is an African expansion plan.
Ramsay Rankoussi, vice president of development in Africa and Turkey for Radisson Hotel Group, says that although the Radisson Hotel Group will indeed continue to seek organic growth, backed by travel to regional and domestic destinations, however, the company will be looking at other options for organic growth that could be more unconventional and could include various types of joint ventures, partnerships co-branding, and possibly capitalistic strategies.
“Africa has enormous potential in different product categories and segments, including city and resort hotels, boutique hotels, and serviced apartments. One of them – is Radisson Individuals, a new brand that provides smaller hotel operators the chance to join the Radisson family without losing their own identity. It was launched in 2021.
The inability to fund either through credit or equity and the cost of capital is the most significant burden on the continent. Growth in organics will aid us in not just reducing the risk of materialization and help unlock economies of scale and synergies in regional and local chains to benefit the local community,” he says.
In this regard, the Radisson Hotel Group has set its goals for Africa by expanding its African portfolio by signing 14 new hotels and five new hotels opening in 2021, putting the stage towards achieving its goal of having more than 150 hotels in 2025.
Remote work made simple.
Cheapflights, an international search engine for travel that compares hotels, flights, and rental cars, reported that searches from South Africa to the rest of Africa were up 67% in September and December of the year, compared to the same timeframe in the year 2019. Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mauritius, Namibia, and Mozambique were the top countries searched.
In addition, the website recently also introduced the Work from Wherever Index, which provides travelers looking to work from home or on vacation with an unofficial list of the top nations for them to get work done while visiting an exciting new destination. The Index’s results are based on searches made through the Cheapflights site, as and how each country did in six categories.
South Africa ranks 61st globally and ranks fifth among countries within the Middle East and Africa region with the highest scores in cost travel and social activities.
Mauritius was ranked 4th globally, beating numerous European heavyweights, was atop the rankings in Africa, the Middle East, and Africa. The country has excellent conditions, low crime rates, and a reasonable cost of living. In addition to a remote working visa (also known as a digital nomad’s visa), it is a travel permit for people who travel, which allows them to work from home during their time within a country.
Other African countries on the list include Seychelles at 26th place globally and number two within the region. Reunion (at 69); Kenya and Tanzania (ranked 80th and 81st respectively) as well as Tunisia (ranked at 84th) and many more.
Its Work from Wherever Index and the rise in searches for flights towards the continent could be another sign of a resurgence in business and increasing confidence among travelers.
A reputable business hub
Beyond the white beaches and the get-away-from-it-all lifestyle, Mauritius is increasingly recognized as one of the top business centers across the continent. The island is currently the most highly ranked economy in sub-Saharan Africa as per the world bank’s Ease of Doing Index click. The Business Exchange (TBE) recognized the Mauritian potential as South African serviced office provider. In April 2021, TBE launched the second opportunity to invest in Mauritius, a sectional-title-serviced office space.
“Mauritius offers a stable politically as well as economically. International brands of major importance, such as Samsung, Broll, Expedia, and NBA (North America’s National Basketball Association), have already established themselves in our office space that is serviced that suggests the potential of the area as a major business center,” believes David Seineker, TBE founder and CEO.
The strategic importance of the area was crucial to the expansion plans of TBE; others are also looking at regions where the same problems exist that the company faces in its primary operating area. The closeness of Mauritius is proximity to South Africa – it’s just four hours away from Johannesburg. It is an additional advantage, considering that “The City of Gold remains” the top business center on the continent. Mauritius is also ideally situated in the middle of Asia from the Middle East to the tip of Africa, making it the ideal location to expand into Africa and from Africa and the remainder of the globe.
Tech hotspots to help expand the ecosystem
Zoho is a global technology firm that provides business applications. It recently revealed the launch of their South African office – the company’s headquarters located in Cape Town. “Zoho believes that its expansion being tied to the growth and development of the wider community it serves, a method that we call “transnational localism.” As part of this plan, we’re determined to contribute to the development of autonomous economic communities around the globe,” says Hyther Nizam the president of MEA for the Zoho Group.
For South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt, Zoho offers its products in local currency. In addition, Zoho has recruited people from all four countries to fill customer-facing positions. The company is also dedicated to creating alliances that can help local businesses with their efforts to transform themselves digitally.
SweepSouth, one of the South African on-demand home services brands, has recently increased its Pan-African presence with the launch of Egypt. Already in operation across Kenya and Nigeria, they purchased Egyptian startup Filkhedma, Egypt’s most significant home service marketplace. It has three cities in-process and serves thousands of customers by providing cleaning, maintenance, and beauty services.
“Africa has massive growth potential for us as a company,” states Aisha Pandor, co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth. “We are already operating in three major markets. The addition of Filkhedma signifies it will be a SweepSouth will be among only a handful of African companies operating within the continent’s four main technology ecosystems, including South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria.
“Egypt is home to an affluent and expanding middle-class that is underserved in the domestic home service sector, which is true of other countries across the continent. With an impressive performance in terms of economic growth and outlook and an economic system that’s proved resilient in turbulent times, it was logical to look at this market as the next major leap. Our presence in the region now positions for expansion into other areas of Africa and the Middle East.
“We are entering a rapid growth phase and executing on several other new country launches in 2022,” says Pandor. “Having our Filkhedma team aboard is especially exciting because it’s an intra-African purchase from two companies within the same sector. The acquisition nearly doubles our market that we can target across the continent and also enhances our services and products that we currently offer.”