WASHINGTON—Twenty-four young African women between the ages of 18 and 30 have been selected to participate in the job training partnership in Dubai and Doha launched in 2012 between Marriott International and the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. Upon their graduation in December, the new Akilah graduates will join the first group of 17 young women, who began the training program in Marriott hotels in Dubai in the fall of 2012. All will return to Rwanda in 2014 to open Marriott’s first hotel in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Kigali Marriott.
“Thanks to partnerships like Marriott, Akilah placed 100 percent of our first graduating class in jobs that are building sustainable careers in Africa,” said Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes, Akilah CEO and co-founder. “These young women are thriving in their jobs at the hotels in Dubai and Doha, as they learn to become leaders for Marriott’s expanding portfolio of hotels in Africa.”
“Marriott is committed to investing in all the communities where we build hotels, including Africa,” said Kathleen Matthews, chief communications and public affairs officer at Marriott International. “The Akilah partnership supports our strategy to serve our world, and meet our employment needs.”
As Marriott increases its presence in Africa more than six-fold from 10 to 33 hotels by 2018, it anticipates hiring nearly 10,000 employees, the majority of whom will be local residents. “We want promising, local talent to welcome our guests. We have found some of that talent through our partnership with Akilah,” said Gary Dodds, Marriott International’s vice president of human resources for the Middle East & Africa, who leads the program. “As part of our commitment to young people in Africa, a partnership like that with Akilah is something we wish to consider at each of our hotel openings including in Ghana and Ethiopia where we have committed to build a hotel.”
Opened in January 2010, Akilah offers a three-year business diploma with a focus in hospitality management, information systems or entrepreneurship. The model emphasizes leadership and communication skills. Akilah works closely with the local private sector to develop market-relevant curricula and to ensure job placement for graduates in the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
The Kigali Marriott Hotel—owned by New Century Development—will be the largest hotel in Rwanda at 250 rooms.
Currently, in Africa, Marriott has 10 properties in three countries, including The JW Marriott Hotel Cairo Mirage City in Egypt and the Renaissance Tlemcen in Algeria. In addition to the Kigali Marriott Hotel, the company has 23 hotels in the Africa pipeline, 10 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the Accra Marriott Hotel in Ghana (2014), The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Tamuda Bay in Morocco (2014), the Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartment Addis Ababa in Ethiopia (2015), the Librevilla Marriott Hotel in Gabon (2015) and the Contonou Marriott Hotel in Benin (2015).