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AccorHotels: A Record Year of Growth and Development in Africa

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Straight from the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, AccorHotels , the world’s leading travel & lifestyle group, announced a record year of development in Africa. Beginning with the 50% stake in the Mantis Group in April, followed by the announcement in late July of a dedicated Investment Fund with a targeted reach of USD $1 billion devoted towards sustainable development in Sub Sahara Africa, the journey continued with the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in September. 

All this culminated with the very recent announcement of hospitality stalwart Mark Willis, to take the helm of the Middle East and Africa as the Group continues to set the pace and grow from strength to strength.

AccorHotels is the largest operator in Africa with a network of over 150 hotels in operation, representing close to 27,000 rooms across 23 countries. Moving forward the Investment Fund, in partnership with Katara Hospitality, will underscore growth and development for the region, providing a platform for a combined network of organic and acquisition reach of 250 hotels by 2025.

Following the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, which added over 50 hotels to the Group’s Middle East and Africa portfolio, including the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra and Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi, C-suite leadership was announced with Mark Willis as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for AccorHotels Middle East & Africa. With more than three decades of operational experience with leading hospitality groups, Willis spent over 12 years in the Middle East and Africa.

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Speaking at the Regional Leaders panel at AHIF, Willis outlined the Group’s vision for Africa based on organic growth and development and a renewed focus on rebalancing AccorHotel’s presence in Africa with a focus on key cities and destinations in East and Southern Africa. He drew emphasis on the need for collaboration with local partners and to mobilize their expertise, intuitive knowledge and passion for community outreach, citing the Mantis Group as the perfect example of a hospitality leader in South Africa with genuine credentials in eco-tourism combined with wildlife conservation.

Over the course of the year, the Group also opened flagship properties and signed key projects, including the first Fairmont flag in Morocco with the opening of the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech and the conversion of the ibis Styles Nairobi, complete with energetic design and a vibrant open-air rooftop lounge. Key signings included the combination Novotel and Adagio residences in Abidjan, Novotel Algiers, and two strategic projects in Lagos with the MGallery Ikoyi and Pullman Ikoyi. The Group also announced the first Pullman brand in Ghana to open in 2021 – Pullman Accra Airport City – a mixed use complex with Pullman Living, a compelling extended stay solution in the premium market

Hand-in-hand with these achievements is a dedicated team of operators located across regional offices in Johannesburg, Dakar, Cairo, Dubai and Casablanca ensuring the success of each opening. From Design & Technical Services, Talent and Culture (Human Resources), Operations, Food and Beverage, Sales and Marketing to a fully-fledged pre-opening team and task force, AccorHotels builds confidence with owners by delivering the brand successfully to the market.

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Aje  Festival  2020: Ooni wants government to spread wealth through trade, investment policies

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The Arole Oduduwa, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged government at all levels to raise the standard of living of citizenry through favourable economic policies.

Ooni, the Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) gave the charge during the 2020 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua palace, on Monday in Ile-Ife.

Ooni Ogunwusi who is the natural father of the entire Yoruba race worldwide decried the current economic condition of the country which he described as pathetic, adding that the country’s wealth must be be enjoyable to all Nigerians.

“As it stands today, Nigeria has a population of few men and women controlling the economy while countless others are languishing in poverty. We cannot continue like this.

“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty.” The Ooni decried.

While explaining the basis for the Aje Festival celebrations, the African foremost monarch explained that it is a unique way through which the Yoruba people globally remember the deity which is known for wealth and riches.

“Aje is a deity which is known for wealth and riches. Its annual celebration as you have witnessed today is to acknowledge its relevance to us as people, especially its indispensable nature to us.

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“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje, all of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.

“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people, we only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem.” The Ooni noted.

Coordinator of Aje Festival, Princess Toyin Kolade while briefing newsmen expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria. She thanked the Ooni for the opportunity, pledging her commitment to the development of the prestigious Yoruba cultural heritage.

Similarly, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, High Chief Adekola Adeyeye, described the 2020 Aje festival celebration as the best in history, thanking the Ooni for uphold the cultural values of Ile Ife and Yorubaland. He added that the Ooni has rebranded the ancient city positively to the world, praying that God Almighty will support him in realising the greater Ife Kingdom of his dream.

The Obaluru Oranfe, Oba Isoro Abiodun Molato said “Aje is a goddess that provides Wealth and Fortune for People. She was among the 401 deities sent to the world by Olodumare .
Her primary assignment was to ensure a smooth transition of the country’s economy. For this, she is always being celebrated and commemorated by the people of Ife and other tribes of Yoruba so as to laud and epitomize her past good deeds and also how she has diligently improved people’s welfarism and the commerce of the country”.

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Speaking on behalf of the international participants, Mr. Rodrigo Abdon from Brazil described the festival as awesome representation of the African rich cultural heritage.

“What I see here today has further represented the economic potentials of the enviable Yoruba cultural heritage and Africa at large. I see arts, I see dance, I see music, I see paintings and many others like we have in Brazil. The people are also receptive, very accommodating and it shows the good nature of the land. We are really feeling at home”Mr. Rodrigo noted.

The traditional rulers who graced the epoch cultural event are; Alapomu of Apomu, Oba Adenekan Afolabi, Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole, Olugbon of Ile-Igbon, Oba Olusola Alao, Onigogo of Igogo-Ekiti, Oba Sunday Adewumi, Elerinmo of Erinmo-Ijesa, Oba Michael Ajayi, Onigbaye of Igbaye, Oba Morounfoye Okunola, Olubogun of Ibogun-Ifo, Oba Fakayode Faluade, Aragberi of Oragberi, Oba Funso Makanju, Oloba of Oba-Ile, Oba Adekunle Oyeyemi, Eburu of Iba, Oba Adeogun Ogunoye, Onitetiku of Owode-Ota, Oba Wasiu Ogungbayi, Asoya of Ile-Isoya, Oba Muraina Adedini, Obalufe of Iremo-Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura and a host of others

The former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Consular General of Brazilian Embassy in Nigeria, Helge’s Samuel Bandeira, several traditional rulers and Nollywood stars including Adewale Eleso, Iya Rainbow, Lanre Hassan(Iya Awero) and Saheed Balogun others dignitaries witnessed the event while the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Haruna Isola thrilled the guests.

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2020 Osun Osogbo festival is double celebrations – Ataoja

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The Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun has revealed that the year 2020 annual Osogbo Festival will be a double celebration.

Oba Olanipekun said that the celebration of the annual festival in August this year would lead to the 10th coronation anniversary of his ascension to the throne of his forefathers in September

In a statement by the Managing Consultant of the Osun Osogbo festival in Ibadan on Tuesday, Mr. Toye Arulogun, the royal father noted that activities marking the 2020 edition of the festival will commence in March 2020 with a stakeholders round table aimed at identifying and getting the inputs of partners and other stakeholders for the 2020 double celebrations.

He said that the festival committee is working round the clock to ensure that this year’s festival is a huge success with great tourism benefits to the Osun State government and the federal government at large.

Oba Oyetunji expressed appreciation to the sons and daughters of Osogbo for their support and understanding towards him since his reign as the Ataoja in 2010.

The traditional ruler said that he is very optimistic that Osogbo and the Osun Groove, a World Heritage Site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will play host to a higher number of devotees, participants and tourists during this year’s festival and the celebration of a decade of his coronation.

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Ekiti moves to rebrand Ere  Ayo Arin for global  acceptability 

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The Ekiti state government through its Council for Arts and Culture is set to rebrand Ere  Ayo Arin for cultural visibility, public embracement  and global  acceptability 

The Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo -Lanre made this revelation on Thursday  after a presentation of Ere Ayo  Arin by members of staff of the Council at the Ekiti State Cultural Centre, Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

Ambassador Ojo – Lanre explained that Ere Ayo  Arin is one of the notable traditional games and entertainment values which are the cultural  heritage of  Ekiti and Yoruba land but one which is trending fast into the abyss of forgetfulness and extinction

Speaking further, he disclosed that the Council embarked on the rebranding of Ere Ayo  Arin in line with the cultural  vision of Dr Kayode Fayemi which tasked the Council to rejuvenate and resuscitate notable traditional games  of Yoruba which are agents of values building and moulders of growth ethics but which are  now  decreasing in popularity and visibility

Ambassador Ojo – Lanre added that  Ere Ayo Arin is not just only a recreational and entertainment act but a game which hone and sharpens  the intelligence board, tasks the mental plate and stokes the goal getting  skills of players while it injects excitement, cultivates active participation of the spectators and the audience

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He revealed that it is one game which grinds the players’ ability to plan, calculate, strategise, target and achieve a set goal, which are all the growth valves which a typical human being needs to accomplish his vision on Earth. ,

Ambassador Ojo – Lanre revealed that research and investigation so far conducted showed that a large percentage of our youths has never watched  Ere Ayo  Arin being played in its cultural form as well as not even seen the seed being used.

He  said he was not surprised when three out of five students on an internship with the Council revealed that they have never watched or played neither have they set their eyes on the seed used in playing the game

Ambassador Ojo – Lanre disclosed that Ere Ayo  Arin would be formally presented and performed in Ado Ekiti before being taken on a tour of other local government councils in the state.

He revealed that  Ere Ayo Arin tour would be tailored according to the cultural vision of Dr Fayemi which targets the pupils, secondary school students and the youths most of who are in the oblivion of these pristine traditional games which equip and launder the brain for effective functioning in day to day engagement in life.

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