QIA-Backed Hospitality Venture Doubles Down on Senegal, sub-Saharan Africa

By Mario Marroquin

South African private equity firm Kasada penned its fourth acquisition in Senegal this week. The hospitality firm, which is backed by the Qatar Investment Authority and French hospitality group Accor, purchased the 166-key Lamantin Beach Resort & Spa in Saly – located 50 miles east of Dakar – less than seven months after it made its third hospitality deal in Dakar.

“The Senegalese economy has shown resilience throughout the pandemic, and we are excited to add this asset to our portfolio,” Olivier Granet and David Damiba, managing partners at Kasada, said in a statement. “We believe the combination of the hotel’s popularity and our savoir-faire will create significant value to our guests and the local community.”

Lamantin Beach Resort is a beachfront hospitality asset located on the Senegalese Petite-Côte, and consists of two swimming pools, a spa and wellness center, and a conference center. Kasada said renovations to the hotel are imminent and that it will seek to enhance experience and ensure leading environmental and social, governance (ESG) practices at the property.

While Kasada has been active in Senegal since 2020, the hospitality firm has remained active throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022. The firm owns over 2,500 rooms across seven countries in the continent and recently announced the acquisition of the Former Crowne Plaza in Nairobi, Kenya, and the acquisition of the Masara Umubano Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. The real estate investment firm also entered the Cape Town, South Africa, hospitality sector this year when it acquired the Cape Grace Hotel in March. 

 Kasada closed its US$500 million maiden fund, Kasada Hospitality Fund L.P. in 2019. And while the firm represents a small percentage of QIA’s exposure to hospitality in Africa, management at the sovereign wealth fund has made it clear it wants additional exposure to the sector in the continent.

In a recent meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, QIA’s chief of Asia-Pacific and Africa Investments, said the sovereign wealth fund intends to invest in the tourism and hotel sectors in Egypt. The Egyptian State Information Service reported Egypt is one of the three most important destinations for Qatari investments in the region.

QIA is also the founder of Katara Hospitality which acquired the Fairmont Tazi Palace in Tangier, Morocco in September. The investment authority is the second-largest shareholder in Accor, which owns and manages 305 hotels – 70,638  rooms – across 30 countries in the Middle East and Africa, and is the sixth-largest hospitality firm in the world. 

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