Hospitality group Accor announced the debut of its mid-scale Novotel brand in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG  - Hospitality group Accor on Wednesday announced the debut of its mid-scale Novotel  brand in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the signing of three properties during the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Ethiopia.

Accor said it had partnered with Compagnie Hôtelière et Immobilière du Congo, owned by leading DRC conglomerates, to open Novotel properties in the capital, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kolwezi.

The agreement would introduce Novotel’s signature relaxed and lively hospitality concept to Africa’s fourth-most populous nation and its most populous Francophone country, capitalising on a surging demand for modern world-class hospitality meeting the needs of local communities and business travellers, it said.

“With Africa tipped as the next global market and DRC one of the continent’s fastest-expanding economies with an affluent middle class, the time is right to introduce our flagship midscale lifestyle brand in three major growth markets,” said Mark Willis, CEO Accor Middle East & Africa.

“We are delighted to partner with local expert CHIC to develop Novotel’s presence in this global mining powerhouse, building on the success of the brand in other African destinations and bolstering our accelerated development strategy on the continent.”

DRC is the world’s largest producer of cobalt ore, a major producer of copper and diamonds and has an estimated US$24 trillion in untapped mineral deposits.

The capital Kinshasa is a centre for international corporations, institutions, government offices, embassies and NGO headquarters, and Accor said the 115-key Novotel Kinshasa, due for completion in December 2020, would be strategically located close to all of them.

In Lubumbashi, DRC’s second largest city and its mining capital, the 120-key Novotel Lubumbashi, which has a planned opening date of December 2021, is under construction on the city’s main road by the lake.

The 102-key Novotel Kolwezi, due for completion in December 2022, will be located on the main road, close to several international mining companies with headquarters in that city.

Accor already operates two properties under the upscale Pullman brand in the DRC.

On Wednesday the group said the triple Novotel signing built on the momentum of the brand in other areas of sub-Saharan Africa – a focal point of its development strategy – with Accor recently signing a deal to manage the 160-key Novotel Victoria Island Lagos in Nigeria.

"More than 3,942 keys are pipelined for this region across countries including Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast, Senegal, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia," it said.

Accor currently operates 25,826 rooms in 164 hotels across 22 countries in Africa and has 13,642 more keys across 61 properties signed or under development.

- African News Agency (ANA)