57th Meeting of the UNWTO Comission for Africa held in Medellin, Colombia

The 57th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) was held on 12 September 2015, within the framework of the 21st session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Medellin, Columbia. The meeting was attended by over 80 delegates, from 32 African countries including eleven African Tourism Ministers, Representatives of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Casa Africa (Representative of the Spanish Government), the West African Economic Monetary Union (UEMOA), the International Fair of Madrid (IFEMA), the International Nightlife Association (UNWTO Affiliate Member) and the Regional Tourism organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA).

Opening the meeting, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe and CAF Chairman, Walter Mzembi, warmly welcomed all the delegates and thanked the host country Colombia, and in particular the Minister in charge of tourism and their collaborators for their excellent organization of the event and their hospitality.

In his opening address, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, expressed his appreciation to the Chairman and thanked the Colombian Government for being an excellent host and for the seamless organization of this 21st session of the General Assembly. He also underlined the remarkably presence of African Ministers and emphasized the importance of the theme of the General Assembly - Tourism: Fostering Inclusive Development and Social Transformation – for Africa. Mr. Rifai recalled in this context the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs and the inclusion of tourism in the SDGs.

During the CAF Meeting various issues were discussed with emphasis on the strengthening of regional tourism blocks and the need for the establishment of a strong institutional tourism presence at the African Union (AU). Furthermore, UNWTO Secretary-General underlined the main priorities to be addressed by the Organization in 2016 - sustainability, safety and security and technology.

The Commission unanimously re-elected Zimbabwe as its Chairperson and Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon were appointed Vice-Chairpersons, for a two-year term (2015-2017). The Regional Director for the Africa Programme, Elcia Grandcourt, thanked the Hon. Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe for his dedicated work as Chairperson of the Commission and also thanked Senegal and Uganda for having performed the duties of Vice-Chairpersons during the period of 2013-2015. All Members welcomed the candidature of Côte d’Ivoire as host country for the 58th Meeting of UNWTO CAF to be held in Abidjan from 19 to 21 April 2016.