Omidyar invests in Nigeria’s growing travel and tourism sector

Omidyar Network has announced its investment in Hotels.ng, the largest hotel-booking platform in Nigeria. The company provides an online marketplace to connect consumers to more than 14,000 small and medium hotels in the country, most with no prior digital presence. The Series A round investment is part of Omidyar Network’s Consumer Internet & Mobile initiative, which focuses on supporting new digital solutions to connect people, enabling them to share ideas and do business more efficiently and at scale.

‘Omidyar Network knows first hand the power of e-commerce to drive social and economic development,’ said Ory Okolloh, investments director at Omidyar Network. ‘Hotels.ng hits all the marks of an investment with positive impact by leveraging online technology to connect buyers and sellers, supporting local small and medium businesses, and boosting consumers confidence in digital channels.’

Omidyar Network’s investment will be used to expand the reach of the Hotels.ng platform to 90 percent of Nigerian hotels in the next three years, as well as finance the company’s coverage expansion to 50 percent of hotels across Africa. Hotels.ng currently covers 21 regions in Nigeria.

‘As Nigeria emerges as a travel destination and attracts investment of the big international hotel chains, Hotels.ng offers small, family-owned properties an easy and cost-effective way to compete for new clients and expand their business,’ said Mark Essien, CEO and founder of Hotels.ng. ‘Omidyar Network was a logical partner for us, as their social mission is very aligned with our own and e-commerce is in their DNA.’
Nigeria is looking to diversify an economy that is highly dependent on oil revenues, and travel and tourism is gaining status as a strategic sector. The sector accounted for 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP in 2013, and it is poised to nearly double that number by 2024. In recent years, the Nigerian government has made strides to supporting this growing industry by launching a new tourism campaign and a tourist card focused on facilitating commerce with international visitors.

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organisations to catalyse economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $772 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organisations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Consumer Internet & Mobile, Education, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.

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