The demand for international-standard hotel rooms currently far outstrips supply in Africa, where nine countries have no branded hotels at all, eight have a single chain hotel, and nearly half the countries on the continent have only one or two international brands.

The world’s leading hotel chains are in a scramble for a footprint in Africa with more than 417 hotels in the development pipeline across the continent, adding more than 72,000 rooms to hotel inventory from Lagos to Cape Town.

Among the few brands represented, Marriott is currently the largest operator with 140 hotels and over 24,000 rooms with plans for 200 hotels and 37,000 rooms open or in the pipeline by 2022. Hilton has also committed $50 million over five years to convert around 100 properties across Africa with a focus on its upscale DoubleTree and Curio Collection brands.

However there are barriers to completing hotels already in the pipeline, including lack of financing, construction delays, lack of infrastructure, unreliability of city water, power and local suppliers, as well as traditional issues with red tape and corruption – although that climate is changing in some countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, Djibouti and Zambia.

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