South African-based hotel management company, BON Hotels have extended their African presence with the addition of BON Hotel Karibu Kolwezi, situated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to their portfolio. The 55-roomed hotel, which is scheduled to open in April next year, will be the first of its kind for the Lualaba Province of the DRC.
The DRC has historically been considered as one of the most challenging business environments in the world. Despite its wealth of natural resources, the francophone country has been left impoverished by corruption, mismanagement and conflict. Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels, believes that the DRC will become the economic powerhouse that it deserves to be. “Green shoots and investment will come with political stability. The DRC is underdeveloped and we have no doubt that the country is primed for international investment and significant growth.”
Kolwezi in itself, as the mineral hub of the DRC, is projected to grow substantially over the next 3 decades. Currently, small lodges, private hotels and informal hospitality establishments are serving the ever-growing expat and international community who are working and conducting business in the area.
The new BON Hotel Karibu Kolwezi will be the first full-service mid-market hotel catering to local and international visitors, both short- and long-stay. With a strong focus on fire, life, safety and security, the hotel will include a top-floor penthouse, a business centre and meeting rooms, 2 restaurants, a sky bar, swimming pool and gym.
BON Hotels have their eyes on expansion within the DRC with a pipeline of projects in some of the major districts, including Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.
A picture of war and poverty has plagued the Congolese for decades and growth has been stilted in a once-thriving country, specifically in agriculture and mining. The recent Chinese presence, however, indicates that investment is on the rise. Confirming his positive outlook, Stehlik says: “We can no longer sit back and ignore these opportunities because of perceived challenges. We at BON are realistic about the difficulties we face, yet very excited and positive about the opportunities the country presents. What is more exciting is to be bringing a whole new skill-set and industry to the local community. BON Hotels are adamant about upskilling local talent, providing employment and involving the surrounding communities. Together with the right partners on the ground, we believe that we will make a difference and add tremendous value not only to our stakeholders, but to the community and people of Kolwezi too.”