Forum de l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain

7-9 juillet 2020 – Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, Côte d'Ivoire


7-9 juillet 2020 – Côte d'Ivoire

Press release


Bench honours Samih Sawiris for his vision and focus

Published 08 February 2019

One of the world’s leading figures in real estate development, Samih Sawiris, is being recognised by Bench Events for his ground-breaking international projects as well as his focus on sustainability and social housing.

The award was presented by Bench Managing Director, Matthew Weihs, at Forum de l'Investissement Hôtelier Africain (FIHA) in Marrakech, on February 8. The forum is the ninth edition of Africa’s leading hospitality investment conference, AHIF.

Samih Sawiris is Chairman of Orascom Development Holding, and part of the renowned Sawiris family. His flagship development in Egypt – El Gouna – comprises 36.92 million square metres including 17 hotels and a range of residential properties. In effect, it’s a town that aims to become the first in the world to be CO2 neutral.

He has five similar developments across Egypt, and others in Switzerland, Oman, Montenegro, UAE, the UK and Morocco.

Matthew Weihs said: “We are awarding Samih for the impact he has made on the real estate industry, the vision of his projects and his focus on sustainable development. But also, less well known, his focus on social housing in sub-Saharan Africa.”

And in a humorous reference to their shared passion for squash, Weihs added: “I particularly want to recognise Samih’s contribution as a headline sponsor of the El Gouna International Squash Open, one of the most exciting tournaments on the professional Squash circuit.”

The FIHA business event, organised by Bench Events, unites North and West African countries to develop their economies and support hospitality investment, including tourism projects, infrastructure, entertainment and hotel expansion across the region.

In French and English with simultaneous translation, the Forum offers unrivalled networking opportunities across two days in which business leaders mingle with government ministers and officials. The agenda ranges from plenary overviews of the region’s macro-economic state of play, to intimate round table sessions, bringing delegates up close to the key players

Matthew Weihs, MD, Bench Events, said: “There’s increasing investor appetite for these markets and FIHA leads the debate, helping to bring projects to fruition and to aid local owners and investors to decide on new partnerships, joint ventures and deals.

“FIHA is the only top-calibre, francophone investment forum for Africa’s hospitality sector, at which delegates can be confident to gain genuine insight from the leaders of the industry, to participate in relevant, high-level networking activities and to lay the foundations for promising future business relationships.”