The chairman of African Tourism Board, Mr. Cuthbert Ncube has called for the introduction of a unified African currency that will facilitate and be at par with Global currency for the continent to enjoy its trade surplus as its economy grows in the recent time.
He gave this thought during his own remarks as a guest speaker at the virtual launch of Tourism Invest Africa’s (TIA) participation at the forthcoming Intra African Trade Fair (IATF) slated for 8th– 14th December, in Kigali, Rwanda,where the continental tourism business and investment potentials will be showcased to the Global community for the first time under TIA-ATB umbrella.
‘’Also bear in mind that travel and tourism remain one of the key growth sector of the continent economy, contributing, about 8.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is equivalent to quit a lot of U.S dollars and I always challenge when we have audience with the ministers that I think its high time we created our united Africa where we can actually come up with our own currency so that our economies shouldn’t be dictated by someone else who has created his own currency and forced it into Africa. So it is high time for Africa to stood up, so this growth record placed the continental as the second fastest growing economic region in the world with a growth rate of 5.6% after Asia Pacific at 3.9% Global Average Growth Rate’’.
He further frowned at the inability of some African countries not ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement which would help the continent to accelerate its trade and investment in general.
“May I hasten to say Africa is a continent full of massive beauty and opportunities especially within the tourism investment, especially within the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area which in a way hasn’t been fully adopted and appreciated by all, we still have to see the will and the drive for actually all 54 member states to implement because we need to realize our wealth and full potentials and massive gain across the continent of ours. It is time as well to create more campaign, create more awareness to promote more intra Africa investment opportunities with our diversified products and services that are unparalleled to any when we look at our tourism sector’’.
Mr. Ncube also delved into why its imperative in tourism sector where the ordinary people can feel the impact and also be a partake of the developmental agenda which tourism is providing within the continent.
“Importantly, the economic growth created by the sector impacts positively on the lives of our ordinary people who are simultaneously co-creators. Tourism as the world over has been a sector where people can simultaneously co-create their economic growth and their economic development’’.
Having understudied the pro-active roles being played by countries in Africa by opening up and combating the pandemic, he expressed his pleasure and also reiterated the commitment of (TIA) to provide the best pavilion at the 2021 edition of (IATF) in Kigali.
“Colleagues, I am comforted to know that may African countries have started easing up and to combat this virus this indeed is a good sign on the road towards economics recovery of our sector and we note with pleasure that member states are implementing a world high grade of safety protocol measured to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to stimulate the recovery of the sector.
As we inaugurate and setting up the pace for Intra African Trade Fair 2021 in Kigali, the Tourism Invest Africa Pavilion will be the best at the Trade Fair as Sharon has indicated to us and that it will bring all strategic tourism players within tourism sector together so that we start connecting and divine the investment conversation’’.
In is usual approach he berated the Global community for not giving Africa the deserved attention when it comes to placing priorities especially on the issue of covid-19 pandemic but quickly chided Africans for relaying on foreign interventions most of the time instead of facing the challenges collectively .
In his words, ‘’May I also hasten to emphasize some of the factors that are very fundamental on the exclusiveness approach on the Global counterparts. Africa has been placed on the backdrop of priority when it comes to issues of containment and issues of rolling out of the vaccines, and I have always argued that somebody who is sweeping his room and he does not gather the dust he swept under the bed, ultimately it would definitely affects as time goes on. That is exactly what is happening. Africa should be able to get together so that we can fight our own battles. There is no cohesive and well coordinated approach that will fast-track our recovery and ultimately activate the pace of the travel sector so therefore the success to increase investment attractiveness of the tourism industry is totally dependent on the Africans themselves, dependent on ourselves. It is our responsibility, myself and yourselves, so this impact must prompt all of us across the continent, all stakeholders must consider policies that that will help recover and reset our travel economics. Our resolves have the potential to stimulate our economic activities with a much greater collaboration, inclusiveness and solidarity across each member state. Africa needs a total shift from international dependent to a continental appreciation approach looking within, staying within, with so much to offer and so much at our disposal. Africa let therefore break the divides that has separated us as nations, that has separated us as brothers and sisters. The need for a multi-tourism sector stakeholders in the investment and economics spheres with the aim of investment drive in Africa. We need to see a more robust strategies for regeneration of key infrastructural sector as a means of restoring Africa as the economic hub of the world”.
ATB Chairman further made reference to a quote by President Paul kegame of Rwanda looking at the fact that the event would take place in Kigali and seeing the efficacy of such a speech in the modern time for Africans to wake up and face the realities by taking up their responsibilities themselves.
‘’Colleagues, this event will be hosted in Kigali, Rwanda, may I be allowed to share a quote from our president Paul kegame where he said and I quote ‘I will rather argue that we need to mobilize the right mindsets, rather than more funding. We don’t need more funding, we don’t need monies coming from the other sources whose by the way interest we can’t even afford to pay , after all in Africa we have everything we need. Africa is like a pregnant woman who is waiting to deliver, so my responsibility and your responsibility is to make sure that we become Doctors and make sure that Africa delivers a healthy young lady or young man. Whatever is lacking we have the means to acquire yet we remain mentally married to the idea that noting can get moving without finance we are even begging for things we already have, that’s absolute failure of mind set’ . This is what the president is saying to us and I just want to challenge each and every one of us to say let us start appreciating what God has given us an Africans’’.
Mr. Ncube concluded by encouraging Africans and those with political will to incorporate capacity building within the tourism sector as Africans converge on Kigali. He assured participated about the fact that Africa is the future of the World hence the mad rush of the Chinese and the Europeans in Africa . He berated some countries and organizations in Africa that are not looking at being in Kigali rather in London for WTM which is counter productive to the development of the continental tourism agenda.
”The government should encourage all members states in Africa to address this issue of political inclusion and support capacity building for tourism to appreciate and understand the vital role played by the private sector . I really appreciate the organizers as we are preparing and taking extra miles to ensure make sure that we gather in Kigali. I have noted two things, which are regrettable, its very unfortunate where most member states also the companies, they are now preparing for the World Travel Market in London and here we are right next door in Kigali, where we are saying as Africans lets us converge, let us come together, let us brainstorm, let us discuss how best we can implement so that ours should definitely be the best, because the fortune of the Global community is in Africa. Whether we believe it or not, the future of the world is in Africa that is why we have Chinese flocking to Africa, that is why we have people from Europe flocking to Africa, investing in Africa and yet we are at the background. Why can’t we take those opportunities as Africans, this is ours, let us guide it jealously so that at the end of the day when we have raised what legacy we are leaving behind. So I would just want to applaud colleagues for the initiative and we are looking forward definitely to converge in Kigali and make it happen. Africa, it is our time and it is our time, Thank You Very Much”