African Tourism Ministers meet the African Union

African Tourism Ministers, led by the UNWTO CAF Chairperson and Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe, H.E. Dr. Eng. Walter Mzembi, together with the Executive Director for Technical Cooperation and Services of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zhu Shanzhong, met the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to discuss the role of tourism in the AU’s 2063 Agenda on 19 October 2015 at the organization’s Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

During the meeting Ministers reinforced the importance of placing the tourism sector higher in the Agenda of the AU. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma commended UNWTO and the CAF Chairman for this important initiative and recognized that due to the socio-economic importance and the transversal nature of tourism there was indeed a great need to ensure that the sector is mainstreamed in the AU agenda 2063. UNWTO Executive Director for Technical Coorperation and Services, Zhu Shanzhong also used the opportunity to assure the AU Chairperson, of UNWTO‘s commitment to work with and in support of African Tourism Ministers to bring the tourism sector to the fore in the discussions with the AU.

The meeting follows up the MOU signed between UNWTO and the AU in July 2014. In this context, Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, has since participated at several UNWTO activities strengthening the relationship between UNWTO and the AU and providing an opportunity to discuss the need of mainstreaming tourism in the AU agenda 2063. 

In conclusion, the AU Chairperson suggested the inclusion of tourism on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the AU African Finance Ministers to be held in March 2016 and invited African Tourism Ministers to participate. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, Aisha Mohammed Mussa, delegates from Cameroon, Ghana and Zimbabwe. The outcome of the meeting was subsequently shared with the AU Permanent Representatives' Committee for  information.