04 - 07
The Azalai Hotels Group is the first hotel chain in West Africa, owning and running 7 hotels, spread across four nations. The term “Azalai” is borrowed from the Tamashek language, and is the general term for a Tuareg camel caravan.
The Azalai Hotels Group is headquartered in Mali, where it operates three hotels: The Azalai Hotel Salam, Azalai Hotel Nord-Sud, and the Azalai Grand Hotel. The group started in 1994 with the purchase of the Grand Hotel de Bamako, a former government facility that was privatized in the same year.
Outside Mali, the Group operates the Hotel Independance in Burkina Faso, the Hotel 24 de Setembro in Guinea-Bissau, and the Hotel de la Plage in Benin. It recently secured a $7.8 million funding from its longtime financial partner, the International Finance Corporation, to be used in the construction of hotel facilities in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. This hotel is expected to be ready by the end of 2014. The Azalai Group already employs 650 people, and it is expected that the hotel in Abidjan will raise that number by 160. There are also plans to add two more hotels by the end of 2015, one in Dakar, Senegal and the other in Conakry, Guinea. The plan is unfolding to establish themselves within Francophone West Africa before embarking on conquering Anglophone West Africa. The group also runs the Azalai Academy, a facility for teaching hospitality.
The recent uprising in Mali has adversely affected its operations but the founder and CEO, Mossadeck Bally, is optimistic that things will change for the better.
By Matengo Chwanya
Edited by: Nancy Nguyen