Community-driven hospitality company Airbnb is committed to expanding its presence in Africa.
The company’s CEO Brian Chesky will attend GES 2015 today to meet with entrepreneurs from around the world and explore the sharing economy’s impact and expansion, particularly on the African continent – which represents a huge opportunity for the company. In the last 12 months alone, Airbnb has more than doubled in size in Africa.
“The spirit of entrepreneurialism is a common thread that unites the Airbnb community across the globe,” says Chesky. “I’m thrilled to meet so many entrepreneurs here at GES who will build and grow this community throughout Africa. And I’m excited to see how Airbnb will empower people across the continent to make extra income while providing travellers with a truly authentic experience.”
As a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (Page), Chesky joins a group of US business leaders committed to helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world. At the GES 2015, he will participate in a roundtable alongside other Page members and US administration officials including US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. He will also participate in a discussion with Steve Case on “Getting Ready for Growth”, and lead a Challenge Hack on the sharing economy.
Airbnb will also sponsor prizes for the winners of the GES Youth and Women Spark the Fire Pitch Competition, providing winners of the African Impact, Top Women-Owned African Business, and other winners with Airbnb travel accommodations to support historically marginalised communities on their entrepreneurial journey.
As a Page, Chesky’s signature initiative has been supporting the growth of entrepreneurship in Cuba, where Airbnb launched in April and which has already become its fastest growing market.
Many of the steps taken in Cuba to overcome challenges around internet literacy and mobile payment infrastructure will provide important lessons for Airbnb’s growth in Africa. This week’s trip, which includes a visit to the iHub incubator in Nairobi, is also an opportunity to hear from local entrepreneurs, and understand the opportunities and challenges facing Airbnb and other sharing economy leaders.
In the wake of strong successes in key markets around the world, Airbnb plans to significantly grow its business in Africa, where the company has already seen some impressive growth. In the last year the number of listings in Africa has more than doubled, the number of people staying in Airbnb listings in the region has increased by 145%, and the number of Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 139%.
In Kenya itself, there are currently over 1 400 listings available to book through Airbnb with the greatest concentration in Nairobi (788). Kenyans are also embracing Airbnb as a way of traveling, with the number of Kenyan guests using Airbnb tripling in the last 12 months.