By Andualem Sisay Gessesse – Kigali, Rwanda – A study conducted commissioned by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) advices African countries to develop their tourism sector by utilizing readily available funds and developing new tourist attractions.
“Investment follows tourism, Africa I general should utilize the readily available $45 billion financing the World Bank has allocated for Africa until 2020 focusing agriculture, housing and tourism,” said Dr. Salifou Siddo, Chief Executive of SME TradeLinks, who took part and presented the UN sponsored study on the tourism sector of the Easter African countries.
He presented the paper this morning at the 22nd meeting of intergovernmental experts committee I Kigali, Rwanda, which has been discussing how Eastern Africa countries benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) since Tuesday.
The study revealed that in 2017, Eastern African countries attracted $3.11 billion investment, which is 11% of the total investment Africa attracted $26.22 billion. The study shows that of the total 3.22 billion total investments in tourism sector of Eastern Africa countries, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia had share of 66.4%.
“Meanwhile when we see the share of Africa from to total global $882 billion investment, Africa’s share I 2017 was only 3%Ina addition to financial institutions such as the World Bank, Africa countries should also consider other financers of tourism sector such as pension funds and impact investors.
Currently there are 115 impact investors who have injected a total of $10 billion I the tourism sector of Africa.
Currently the share of Africa from the 1.3 billion international tourist arrivals of 2017, only 63 million came to Africa, which is 9% higher than the previous year. The Easter Africa countries should work as single tourist destination utilizing the available resources ad increase their share in the global tourism.
Failure to promote and lack of transparency and accountability as well as being unable to introduce to develop new tourism products were mentioned as some of the weaknesses of Africa for not increasing its tourism earnings.
Focus should also be given to local small and medium enterprises with incentives from the government such as, addressing financial shortages through provision of guarantees and facilitation of loan from commercial banks, according to Dr. Salifou Siddo.
The study indicated that travel and tourism represented 10.4% of global (Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017. Globally, tourism provides 60% of total employment and 40% of GDP of emerging economies.