Matthew Weihs’s Annual AHIF Review

One month on from the end of AHIF 2014 and we are already preparing for 2015.  We’ve collated the feedback from the 500+ delegates this year with over one fifth of you taking the time to respond to our questionnaire – thank you.  Please keep an eye on the website for updates and early rates to attend next year www.africa-conference.com

On review of the survey it seems that we had a very successful event.  It was great to have been in Addis Ababa for the first time in our history and it was an honour to have had the support of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, HE Hailemariam Desalegn, to officially open AHIF that clearly demonstrates the importance tourism development is for Ethiopia.  It was also a wonderful honour to have the time to hear from Haile Gebreselassie – what an inspiration.  

Those looking for new business partners (67% of you) were very satisfied and it was heartening to see, with such a strong speaker line up that there was a very positive response to the educational aspects of AHIF.  However it is clear that we, as an industry, need to work on attracting finance companies to AHIF and we will be focused on this area for the coming events.   However, 88% of you stated that you’ll be returning to the conference next year which gives us all chance to reach out to our wider network to make this happen.

What was very heartening was that all the sessions scored very highly in content with 85% of the audience saying the overall quality of the sessions at AHIF were either very good or outstanding.

For their contribution, dedication and focus it would be remiss of me not to thank all of our AHIF speakers and Advisory Board for helping produce such a wonderful agenda.  You can access presentations here: http://www.africa-conference.com/index.php/forms/2014-presentations

What I found very interesting from this year’s keynote presentation was how Dr Martyn Davies commented that Africa was all about capturing the consumer – “it’s an FMCG story” he said.  Leading the way is Ethiopia and Kenya who are hot prospects because of their position in manufacturing sector – he asked the question whether Africa, in its fragmented form could capture the opportunity to reduce the dependency on  resources.

As he says in his summary – “African economies need to differentiate themselves through creating comparative & ultimately competitive advantage”

An argument reflected clearly in this article on the best and worst African economies - http://bit.ly/1ww3GKt

Travel and tourism is, of course, an industry that could support diversification and it makes great sense to focus in on this.  There are many interesting challenges that this throws up including VISA facilitation, connectivity and basic infrastructure.  I read this article and thought how relevant it was for us all working in Africa.  I quote “while Africa’s young and growing population certainly represents an opportunity from a consumer perspective, it also represents a threat to stability and sustainability.  Already we are seeing the devastation and disappearance of natural habitats across the continent.” 

This article – Do the reports on “Africa Rising” really reflect reality?” is very thought provoking and worth taking into consideration:  http://bit.ly/1nCi2Y9

Finally, I wanted to share 8 maps of Africa that will blow your mind.  You can find the link here:  http://bit.ly/1shjvyy but here are a few that stand out.

How the world would look if it were measured by its wealth, 2015



Global Vegetation



And where the world’s 7 billion live…