Let's take a break ⏱
Radisson: Hotel industry & Tourism in Africa
We’ve met earlier but still Welcome to the 2nd half of 2020 😊
OPay takes a break from other activities
Opera-backed Nigerian fintech startup Opera Pay (OPay) announced a restructuring plan which involves it suspending its ride-hailing units ORide, Ocar and logistics arm OExpress while continuing its payments & eCommerce unit - OMall/OTrade.
What the OPay app used to do
From the OPay app, users could do a whole lot: funds transfer (to a bank account and telephone), payment for utility bills, order food (OFood), mobile airtime recharge, buy products (OTrade/OMall), get loans (Okash), save & invest (Owealth) even place bets on one of the major sport betting platforms in Nigeria.
There are two sides to this: Things are hard right now and it was all part of the plan.
The pandemic has crippled many business activities and many units of Opay have been affected.
Opera which owns 15-20% of Opay in the first Quarter of 2020 made $138.2m in Revenue, which was made up of Search (14%), Ad (12%), Retail (3%) & Fintech (69%). A pointer to the fact that while most people know Opera as a browser (Opera Mini), there’s more to it.
For a platform that does many things, Opay, as the name implies, is primarily a payment company and its diversification into other ancillary services was just a customer acquisition strategy. The plan was always to get people to transact more through their payment platform, and instead of having to go ask other service providers to use their payment platform, they decided to offer the services.
Big Picture: It’s been a tough year for many businesses including Opay but it might be too hasty to claim OPay is ruined, shedding the weight of its other services, for now, would help them focus more on its profitable payment business and deepen its reach.
60 Years Of Freedom, How Is Congo Doing Now?
Earlier this week, the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated 60 years since it gained independence from Belgian colonial rule. After being colonized for 75 years, the Democratic Republic of Congo attained their freedom on June 30, 1960, but after these years, it has been a struggle for true democracy in the country.
Initial Fight for a true constitutional state
Congo gained independence in 1960 with Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president. Just a few months after independence, Patrice Lumumba was murdered, a death which was believed to have been plotted by Belgians and the United States. In 1965, a coup led by Joseph-Désiré Mobutu forcefully took over leadership from Kasavubu and the country’s affair was left in the hands of one man.
Until the coup, Congo had taken the right path to attain true democracy backed by the will of the people but the country soon experienced mayhem that lasted sixty years. From being governed by a single party under Mbutu to Laurent Kabila leading a revolution to take over the government and restore democracy but was murdered and his son Joseph Kabila took over the government like a monarch, the sovereignty of the people has always been outrightly denied.
So how is Congo?
Economy: After moving on from agriculture, the country now depends mostly on mining, the exportation of diamonds, copper, gold and oil. At the time of independence, DR Congo held the second most industrialized economy in Africa after South Africa but the economy has continued to decline even with thriving resources.
Leadership: With Felix Tshisekedi as president, many people think Congo has had the worst leadership since independence, this is seen via corrupt practices and neglect of the government.
Belgium's regrets over colonial past
For decades Belgium exploited the Congolese, they were made slaves in their own homes, working at mines round the clock to please their masters. Due to the harsh leadership, it is believed that the population of Congo fell from 20million people in 1885 to just 10 million in 1908. Following the bad colonial rulership, Belgium's King Philippe has recently apologized for the wound inflicted on Congo by Belgians before independence.
Not a lot of people have faith in the Congolese government as it is accepted that citizens have allowed for a total misrepresentation, thus creating a rise in the culture of impunity by those in power. Some people believe their independence was rushed and shouldn't have happened when it did because leaders are yet to learn the proper act of leadership.
Radisson: Hotel industry & Tourism in Africa
When you think about Tourism in Africa, It's easy to imagine beautiful beaches in Morocco and Tunisia, the pyramid of Giza in Egypt and the wild safari expeditions in South Africa and Kenya. Asides these being incredible sights to see, these unique locations have created an industry that has done its fair share of creating jobs because of its strong foreign currency earnings. The Hotel Industry has been a crucial segment of the Tourism sector that has been growing steadily for the past two decades.
In 2020, about 408 hotels were scheduled to open but the pandemic led to delayed opening due to closed or slower-paced construction sites, a lack of market demand and restrictions of funding. While the entire industry has been in panic mode, someone has been acting quite differently.
Radisson Hotel Group. That’s who. The Hotel Group with just under 100 hotels in Africa has said it will go ahead with its plans to expand in its key African markets despite the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you think? We think it's bold.
So how do they plan to do it?
They formulated a development and growth strategy in Africa following a two-step approach - To focus on countries and create key hubs. To do this, they grow their business by focusing on key countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa and create hubs to ensure synergy among neighbouring countries, which is good for its operations.
But...But the Pandemic
Yes, the pandemic has been hectic for businesses. But Radisson Hotel Group Management adopted a number of measures in temporary layoffs, rent deferrals, application for governmental loans, postponement of some investments and closing restaurants. Some hotels have been able to remain open and trade, for people in quarantine health workers and government agency staffers.
In the future, the company hopes to add hotels in Senegal, Cameroon, the Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Group intends to have between 10 and 15 Hotels in each country and 150 in total within five years.
The company also recently announced a partnership with travel tech company Hotelbeds who operate a hotel distribution platform accessed by travel agents, tour operators, airlines and loyalty programs to make hotel bookings for their customers.
Seems to us like Radisson Hotel Group is preparing for the post-coronavirus era and trying to see opportunities which we admire :), however, plans are just plans until they have been successfully implemented.
Worth reading 📚
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
— F.Scott Fitzgerald
Thank you for reading this week’s edition