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Transforming A 91-year-Old Colonial Hotel In Northern Nigeria

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True Nigerian Experience Interview with Barrister Nasser Ahmed

1. Central Hotel Kano was privatized and handed over to Broadfields Intermediaries Limited in 2002. Kindly run us through the Post Acquisition Plan under your management?

The main theme of the Post Acquisition Plan with the Bureau for Public Enterprises was “to rebuild the hotel into being pride and income to all stakeholders concerned and cater for the business and recreational needs of corporations, individuals, diplomatic community and visitors in the Kano city area. At the end of the development, a land mark area would have been developed assuring stakeholders of quality facilities that would compete with hospitality centres in South Africa and other parts of North Africa.”

To achieve this, the hotel had to be shut down completely, Management Agreements signed initially with Intercontinental Hotel Group (to use the Holiday Inn brand) and funds initially sourced locally but later refinanced under the Construction/Tourism Linked Relay Facility Programme of the Africa Export Import Bank of Cairo. An initial sum of $15 Million USD was drawn with support from NEXIM Bank and two other local Banks.

The redevelopment of the first phase was completed in 2011. This is the position, until recently when we signed a long management Agreement with a big African brand with international support system called BON Hotels. Being the first formal hotel in Nigeria and a place the Queen of England chose to stay in 1956, we are on the road for a complete refurbishment to meet current international standards with its preferred Interior parties like Delta Interiors South Africa. This arrangement will meet our vision of making the Hotel and Kano the destination of Hospitality in Northern Nigeria.

And we believe we have the pedigree to handle the task. I was a Director at Transcorp Hilton Abuja for over 13 years and my team all have background from our Abuja hospitality Centre Protea Hotel Apo. Funding has been a challenge, especially with pressure from impatient lenders. We however cherish the support of some institutions and their people like Professor B.O. Oramah now President of the Afreximbank Bank, my all-time late hero Mr. Tayo Aderinokun Co-founder and then Managing Director Guraranty Trust Bank Plc and Nexim Bank.

2. There are plans to situate a 5-star-floor Shopping mall within the complex of the hotel. Can you tell us how far you have gone with this plan?

We have had the design completed. We had held meetings with Numetro (known for Cinemas) in South Africa and Shoprite. But their special needs in terms of space and anchor tenants meant that by 2011 we deferred the project until the main hotel was finished and properly branded and run. Therefore, by the Management with BON Hotels signed, the new international partner has both capacity as operators and anchor capacities like shopping mall.

3. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has called for public listing of privatized State-Owned Enterprises. Is there any plan to go in that direction?

Yes. We will be going to the Nigerian Stock Exchange probably by the end of 2021. This is because the rule is that you need to have been in profitable operations for at least four years before you can go to the market so that people will know your track-record. And hopefully, by the first quarter of 2022, we will be quoted on the NSE.

4. Nigeria has recently witnessed influx of Global Hospitability brands. Do you intend to partner any for efficiency and standards?

Yes. We have signed with BON Hotels. The Group has excellent people of pedigree like Mr Otto Stehlik and Mr Bernard Cassar both of whom were the brains behind the creation and growth of Protea Hotels (before the sale to Marriott International in 2014).

I have personal experience working with international brands having served as Director at Abuja Hilton for 13 years and Protea SA for 11 years. The advantages of such partnerships are tremendous and we value such collaborations for sustainable growth.

For more information please visit :

www.grandcentralhotelkano.com

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BOSS X Meissen Capsule Collection Inspired by The Big Five

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Johannesburg, 6 December 2019. BOSS celebrated its holiday capsule with an exclusive event on the 4th of December in Johannesburg.

Two internationally recognized German brands BOSS and Meissen came together for the first time. Inspired by Meissen’s celebrated Big Five figurines, a groundbreaking new collaboration united the two brands’ shared passions for quality, design and creativity.

The Big Five collection, designed by sculptor Maximilian Hagstotz, features the African lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, each decorated with a monochrome pattern placed to emphasize the animal’s characteristic traits.

These majestic creatures, depicted in an angular style inspired by traditional African wooden sculptures, are the starting point for a unique capsule collection of BOSS Menswear and Womenswear.  The fashion capsule collection includes both casual and formal pieces for men and women, all in a monochrome palette of black and white.

To honor this special capsule and collaboration, BOSS and a local franchise partner SURTEE Group hosted an exclusive dinner just in time for the holiday season, with a special guest in attendance – the founder of Elephants for Africa organization Dr Kate Evans.

Guests, dressed in black and white, were greeted by a life-sized white Meissen elephant statue with elegant black and white canapés and black martinis awaiting them. The sophisticated evening had everything from the food, to the décor, drinks and dress code following the monochromatic theme. The charismatic Mark Bayley and former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss kept VIP guests entertained as co-hosts.

The evening culminated with a private performance by South Africa’s much loved Mi Casa. 

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Business Veteran Scoops Top Vision 2030 Award

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Business veteran and Group CEO of ITHUBA Holdings, Charmaine Mabuza has scooped the Top Woman in Education Award at the Vision 2030 Awards recently held in Emperors Palace, Gauteng.

This award recognizes Mabuza for her contribution in the South African education sector through the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Scholarship Foundation.

The Foundation, established in 1999 by Mpumalanga business veterans, Advocate Eric and Charmaine Mabuza initially supported young and talented matriculants in the Mpumalanga region to further their tertiary studies. Since then, the Foundation’s reach has expanded throughout South Africa, producing Doctors, Accountants, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and many more.

Commenting on the award, Mabuza said: “This award represents many years of hard work and determination towards the advancement of equal access to quality education for all South Africans. The mission of the scholarship foundation is to eradicate poverty through education, particularly in previously marginalized communities. As corporate leaders, we know that there is still a lot to be done, but we are ready and willing to do our part. We look forward to another decade of serving the nation”.

One of the beneficiaries of the Scholarship Foundation, Dr. Kate Lusiki who now works at the Rob Ferreira Hospital expressed her gratitude: “Since I started working, I have been able to renovate my mother’s house. I am currently staying with my older sister whom I am putting through college so that she too can also have a solid educational structure. I am able to do these things for my family because the Advocate and Mrs Mabuza afforded me an opportunity to education. This Foundation to me, has been like a better life handed to me on a silver platter, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

The 2020 Scholarship programme will launch with the new intake of students on 12 January with a week-long programme at the ITHUBA offices in Sandton.

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The Re-Awakening Of Some Of The Rarest Whiskies In The World: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost And Rare Glenury Royal

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The season just got a bit more sensational for whisky connoisseurs, as Johnnie Walker releases the third installment in its ‘ghost’ series, with the remarkably rare and limited edition, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal.

This exceptional blend with bewildering layers of depth highlights, notes of candied fruits, spices and unrivaled smokiness. At the heart is the Glenury Royal whisky – the perfect gift to that whisky collector or whisky afficionado.

Ghost and Rare remains in dwindling supply since the shutdown of its birthplace, the iconic Highland distillery, Glenury Royal in 1985. Each bottle is handcrafted in small batches by the combined expertise of a small team of passionate blenders led by master blender Jim Beveridge,the sixth in an unbroken line of master blenders stretching back almost 200 years.

Ghost and Rare is complexly layered with the sweetness of honey and elegant smoke for a long and lingering incomparable finish. With only 1,600 uniquely numbered bottles in Nigeria and only 60,000 bottles made globally, this is a whisky that few others will ever get to taste.  

As one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, Ghost and Rare is a perfect Christmas gift to appreciate a loved one or a discerning drinker who continues to walk with you.

Enjoy Johnnie Walker responsibly. Not for persons below 18 years

Content provided by Johnnie Walker

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