BERLIN, Germany, March 13, 2018/ — An African ministerial working meeting conveyed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) during this year’s Berlin International Tourism Fair ITB (8 March) agreed to move ahead with a new ten-point UNWTO Agenda for Africa. The final document will be adopted at the UNWTO Commission meeting for Africa, taking place in Nigeria in June this year.
Against the backdrop of international tourist arrivals expanding 8% in Africa in 2017, thus outgrowing the world average increase in arrivals, tourism is gaining weight as a development opportunity for the whole continent, with its vast diversity of nature, culture and wildlife its greatest vehicle for development.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “tourism has huge potential to generate lasting development opportunities in Africa if we manage it in the right way, which is economic, social and environmental sustainability”.
The participants from 17 countries, including 14 ministers, supported a coordinated approach to seizing the continent’s potential for tourism, a sector that last year attracted more than 62 million international visitors. Issues on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa include, among others, connectivity, the image and brand of Africa, poverty alleviation, climate change, education and skills development, and financing. Delegates underscored the importance of educating other economic sectors on the broad impact of tourism for the benefit of societies and its people, and promoting tourism as a priority in national agendas.
The detailed, four-year UNWTO Agenda for Africa will be approved at the upcoming 61st Regional Commission for Africa – UNWTO’s annual gathering of all its member countries of the continent – in the Nigerian capital of Abuja (4-6 June).
The following countries were represented at the meeting at ITB: Angola, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 19, 2018/ — The 2018 edition of the World Economic Situation and Prospects report (WESP2018) was launched in Addis Ababa on 16 January under the auspices of the Macroeconomic Policy Division (MPD) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
WESP, which is a UN flagship publication on expected trends in global economy, was presented to a group of Ethiopia-based journalists by Khaled Hussein, Chief of ECA’s Forecasting Section, who said the report bears “some good news and some worrying news.”
The good news in this report, he said, is that “After a long period of stagnation, global economic growth reached 3 per cent in 2017 – the highest growth rate since 2011 – and the growth is expected to remain steady in the coming years.”
Citing the report, Mr. Hussein said that global financial markets were “remarkably buoyant in 2017” and that investment conditions improved, providing opportunity for countries to focus policy towards long-term issues such as reducing inequalities, economic diversification and eliminating deep-rooted barriers to development.
As for the “worrying news,” Mr. Hussein said, “very few least developed countries (LDCs) are expected to reach the SDGs target for growth of at least 7 per cent because LDCs continue to be hindered by institutional deficiencies, inadequate basic infrastructure, high levels of exposure to natural disasters as well as political instability and challenges to security.”
Africa as a whole is expected to see a recovery in GDP growth from its current 3.0% to 3.5% in 2018, and 3.7% in 2019, according to the report. WESP2018 notes, however that GDP growth on a per capita basis is “negligible in several African sub regions, namely Central, Southern and West Africa, in 2018-2019.” These regions combined are home to nearly one third of the global population living in extreme poverty.
East Africa, on the contrary, is noted in the report as being the “fastest growing sub region on the continent, with GDP growth of 5.3% in 2017.
Ethiopia is said to be leading the growth performance in East Africa despite continued weak global prices for its key exports and a re-emergence of drought conditions in parts of the country. The country’s economic growth for 2017 is estimated at 7.3% and is expected to rise to 7.5% in 2019.
The drivers of such growth in Ethiopia, said Mr. Hussein, “are mainly the strong domestic consumption, increase in investments and government expenditure on infrastructure such as roads, energy, and the construction of industrial parks for expansion of the industrial sector,” among others.
WESP is produced annually by the UN Department of Social Affairs, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the five UN regional commissions and the World Tourism Organization.
The report calls for renewed efforts to decrease the over-reliance on commodity revenues through economic diversification and structural transformation.