The Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) will invest P300 million in a hotel that will operate under the Hilton Hotels and Resorts banner. The hotel will be built next to iTowers in the new Gaborone Central Business District (CBD). The pension fund hosted a ground-breaking ceremony last week and the hotel is expected be completed in 18 months, and begin operating in early 2017.
BPOPF has bought the Hilton Hotel brand, a move that will see the opening of the first Hilton hotel in the country. The Hilton Hotels and Resorts were founded in 1919 in the United States of America and grew to become an international chain of full service hotels and resorts and the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide. The group now has over 500 Hilton branded hotels across 78 countries spread over six continents.
Lesedi Moakofhi, BPOPF Acting Chief Executive Officer, said the BPOPF is the sole financier and they will be the sole owners of the hotel once complete. Speaking at the event, she said; “This ground breaking symbolises a turning point in the BPOPF’s investment strategy, the start of yet another major milestone on the BPOPF’s critical projects, the birth of a Hilton hotel. We continue to ensure that we pay a particular focus to investing in the Botswana economy.”
Moakofhi noted that their desire is to see Batswana’s retirement savings meaningfully developing Botswana and at the same time giving a positive return on investment to the investors. She also said they want to ensure that they have a presence in Botswana as well as creating employment opportunities.
Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, commended the Investment Committee of the BPOPF and the management team of the Fund, as well as the asset managers of the Fund, Fleming Asset Management Botswana for putting the project team together. M3 (Pty) Ltd are project promoters and construction will be carried out by Wharic Construction Company.
Morupisi, who is chairperson of the BPOPF board, said Gaborone is growing and alongside this growth, it requires hotels of international repute. “While there may be hotels with a regional presence operating in Gaborone, a truly international chain, of the likes of Hilton has been found wanting until now. The wait is finally over. The BPOPF will build a new 3-star, Hilton Garden Inn that we can all be proud of,” he said.
The Hilton Hotels brand remains one of the company’s flagship brands and one of the largest hotel brands in the world. The company places marketing emphasis on both business and leisure travel with locations in major city centers.
Hilton Brand Worldwide Vice President for Development, Michael Cooper, said the Hilton Garden Inn to be built in Botswana will be the 12th in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 11th one having been built in Swaziland.