NEPAD and UNWTO signs a Memorandum of Understanding
The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 April 2016, in Abidjan, Cote d I’voire. The ceremony took place on the sidelines of the 58th UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF) and the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Conference and Symposium.
The Memorandum of Understanding aims to enhance cooperation between the NEPAD Agency and UNWTO in identified areas of mutual interest with a view to: promote tourism as a tool for development in Africa in line with UNWTO´s priorities and Africa’s Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals on sustainable economic growth and inclusive development. as well as build strong partnerships to support the development of the tourism sector in Africa.
The areas of cooperation include support to the implementation of the NEPAD Tourism Action Plan as the core strategy of the African Union on tourism, taking into account the current continental and global challenges and within the context of the NEPAD’s vision and Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals.
In his speech, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, said “Africa’s Heads of States and Governments have adopted Agenda 2063 as the structural transformation framework of the continent. This Agenda integrated tourism as a critical driver of inclusive growth, job opportunities and wealth creation, through industry and service”. According to Dr. Mayaki, the role of the NEPAD Agency - as the technical arm of the African Union - is to ensure that the mechanisms to facilitate regional integration, such as visa facilitation, air access and transport are effectively implemented. Therefore, the signing of the MoU is a very important step for the NEPAD Agency for mainstreaming sustained and competitive tourism, he added.
UNWTO was represented by its Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai who underscored the importance of giving more attention to the tourism sector, given the role that tourism has in economic growth and development. According to Mr. Rifai, “travel and tourism represent ten percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and one out of every 11 jobs.”