• September 16th, 2019
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Harnessing Africa’s youth dividend in the tourism sector


DURBAN – Africa and the developing world in general is seized with finding sustainable solutions to the current challenges facing young people and the labour market of the future.  The possibility of a digital economy, while real, presents a host of uncertainties, which must be grappled with. 
Coming against the background of increasing unemployment and a restless youth population, the challenges loom large.   

These cannot be ignored when according to a January 2019 Brookings Institute paper entitled Harnessing Africa’s Youth Dividend: a new approach for large scale job creation, Africa can expect its working-class population to reach approximately 450 million people—growing by about three percent per annum—between 2015 and 2035. “By 2050, Africa will have 362 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24.”

While the need to prepare young people for the world of work of the future and digital economy cannot be underestimated, the same report also finds that “other non-traditional sectors such as tourism, agri-businesses, and some services based in Information and Communications Technology show potential for large-scale job creation”.  Indeed, these sectors are amongst the most dynamic on the continent with Africa’s service exports growing more than six times faster than merchandise exports between 1998 and 2015.   

In light of the potential of tourism sector to contribute to the continent’s developmental agenda – including job creation, community development and the involvement of young people, South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal government and African Tourism Partners, recently brought together representatives of the sector at the Durban International Convention Centre for the 2nd Annual African Tourism Leadership Forum. 

Chief Executive Officer of African Tourism Partners Kwakye Donkor said, “since according to the report by Brookings Institute that tourism accounts for at least three percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, we must work collectively to harness the potential of the sector while increasing this contribution.  It is said that except for a few countries, the sector is still in its infancy in Africa.” 

“Africa has so much to offer the world with many of our strengths and resources being unique to the continent.  We must however, in building the sector ensure sustainability.  If we are to achieve any of our objectives, we must have strong leadership in the sector.  In this regard, the African Tourism Leadership Forum is unique in that we aim to build the sector, bottom up and top down.” 

To infuse the thought leadership and innovation that will bring the dynamism to the sector, at least 30 world-renowned global industry experts and speakers will interact with business leaders, ministers, policy makers, and over 300 delegates from over 30 countries over the course of three days. 

The 2019 Africa Tourism Leadership Forum held end of August included the inaugural Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit; the Africa Travel and Tourism CEOs and Executives Forum; and the Africa Business and MICE Tourism Master Class.

It also included the Africa Tourism Leadership Awards.


Staff Reporter
2019-09-12 07:51:22 3 days ago

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