Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment in Africa

“Africa is in the best ever po­si­tion as a global tourism player. Most African coun­tries, even where tourism is the main eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, lack strate­gi­cally in­te­grated prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and re­gional tourism poli­cies. This re­port helps ad­dress these iss

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL -

Fol­low­ing the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Trade and De­vel­op­ment (UNCTAD) held in Geneva, Switzer­land in Jan­uary 2017, an in-depth re­port has been pub­lished on tourism for trans­for­ma­tive and In­clu­sive growth in Africa. Here are a few of the startling find­ings con­tained in the re­port. The Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment in Africa Re­port 2017: Tourism for Trans­for­ma­tive and In­clu­sive Growth ex­am­ines the role that tourism can play in Africa's de­vel­op­ment process. It ar­gues that tourism can be an en­gine for in­clu­sive growth and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and that it can com­ple­ment de­vel­op­ment strate­gies aimed at fos­ter­ing eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion within the right pol­icy con­text.

The re­port does not fo­cus on cli­mate change or its fi­nanc­ing as­pects as these have been taken up in much greater de­tail in re­cent pub­li­ca­tions on the sec­tor. The fo­cus is rather on en­hanc­ing the role that tourism can play in so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment, poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, trade, fos­ter­ing re­gional in­te­gra­tion and struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion. To achieve all of this, Africa must tackle key im­ped­i­ments to de­vel­op­ing the tourism sec­tor, such as weak in­ter­sec­toral link­ages.

Since the United Na­tions des­ig­nated 2017 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment, the tourism sec­tor has been praised for its ca­pac­ity to stim­u­late eco­nomic growth through the cre­ation of jobs and by at­tract­ing in­vest­ment and fos­ter­ing en­trepreneur­ship, while also con­tribut­ing, if prop­erly har­nessed, to preser­va­tion of ecosys­tems and bio­di­ver­sity, pro­tec­tion of cul­tural her­itage and promotion of em­pow­er­ment of lo­cal communities.

Tourism can be an en­gine for in­clu­sive growth and sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Since the 1990s, tourism has in­creas­ingly con­trib­uted to Africa's growth, em­ploy­ment and trade. Dur­ing 1995–2014, in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals to Africa grew by an av­er­age of 6 per cent per year and tourism ex­port rev­enues, 9 per cent per year. The av­er­age to­tal con­tri­bu­tion of tourism to gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in­creased from $69 bil­lion in 1995–1998 to $166 bil­lion in 2011–2014, that is from 6.8 per cent of GDP in Africa to 8.5 per cent of GDP. Fur­ther­more, tourism gen­er­ated more than 21 mil­lion jobs on av­er­age in 2011–2014, which trans­lates into 7.1 per cent of all jobs in Africa. This means that over the pe­riod 2011–2014, the tourism in­dus­try was sup­port­ing 1 out of ev­ery 14 jobs. At the same time, tourism has also been as­so­ci­ated with op­er­at­ing in iso­la­tion from other parts of the econ­omy, suf­fer­ing from high fi­nan­cial leak­age, gen­er­at­ing so­cio­cul­tural ten­sions and en­vi­ron­men­tal damage. His­tory sug­gests that coun­tries can­not rely on tourism as the sole av­enue out of poverty or the only path­way to sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Tourism's po­ten­tial has been rec­og­nized by pol­i­cy­mak­ers at the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional levels, and is in­creas­ingly re­flected in na­tional and in­ter­na­tional pol­icy frame­works. At the global level, Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals 8, 12 and 14 high­light the cen­tral role of tourism in job cre­ation, lo­cal promotion of cul­ture and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. How­ever, as tourism cov­ers sev­eral sec­tors and is a cross-cut­ting is­sue, the de­vel­op­ment of tourism has an im­pact on many Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, for ex­am­ple poverty, de­cent work, gen­der and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Some of the key ques­tions ad­dressed in the re­port in­clude:

• How does tourism con­trib­ute to struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion and more in­clu­sive growth?

• How can link­ages be­tween tourism and other pro­duc­tive sec­tors be har­nessed to cre­ate ad­di­tional eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties and pro­vide sus­tain­able liveli­hoods?

• How can the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of in­trare­gional tourism be fos­tered and bet­ter ex­ploited through deeper re­gional in­te­gra­tion?

• What is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween tourism and peace?

The main find­ings are as fol­lows:

First, tourism can pro­mote eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion in Africa, with link­ages be­tween tourism and other pro­duc­tive sec­tors play­ing a fun­da­men­tal role in this re­gard. To un­lock the po­ten­tial of in­ter­sec­toral link­ages to con­trib­ute to struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion, cross-sec­toral is­sues need to be aligned with, and in­te­grated into, pol­icy frame­works at the na­tional, re­gional and con­ti­nen­tal levels.

Sec­ond, tourism is crit­i­cal to the con­ti­nent's in­clu­sive growth and can play an im­por­tant role in the global fight to re­duce poverty and achieve the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals. Be­yond gen­er­at­ing eco­nomic ben­e­fits and boost­ing pro­duc­tive ca­pac­i­ties, tourism has the po­ten­tial to fos­ter in­clu­sion by cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties among vul­ner­a­ble groups such as the poor, women and youth.

Third, con­ti­nen­tal and in­trare­gional tourism in Africa is in­creas­ing and of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for eco­nomic and ex­port di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion if its po­ten­tial is ex­ploited at the na­tional and re­gional levels. African coun­tries would ben­e­fit if they made fur­ther progress with the free move­ment of per­sons, cur­rency con­vert­ibil­ity and lib­er­al­iz­ing air trans­port ser­vices. This would fa­cil­i­tate greater ac­cess to tourism des­ti­na­tions and boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of des­ti­na­tions. It also re­quires re­gional eco­nomic communities and coun­tries to com­pre­hen­sively plan for in­trare­gional and con­ti­nen­tal tourism.

Fourth, peace is es­sen­tial for tourism, and the de­vel­op­ment of tourism can fos­ter peace. African coun­tries with tourism po­ten­tial should im­ple­ment poli­cies that strengthen the sec­tor as these poli­cies will con­trib­ute to both peace and de­vel­op­ment. The anal­y­sis and find­ings of the re­port also con­firm the bidi­rec­tional causal re­la­tion­ship be­tween peace and tourism and fur­ther show that the ef­fect of peace on tourism is much greater in mag­ni­tude than the im­pact of tourism on peace.

And fi­nally, Chap­ter 6 of the re­port re­ca­pit­u­lates some of the main find­ings, key mes­sages and pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions. The chap­ter con­cludes that there is an ur­gent need to ad­dress the lack of tourism data and sug­gests that this could be un­der­taken as part of on­go­ing ef­forts to im­prove macroe­co­nomic data col­lec­tion.

African Gov­ern­ments, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with de­vel­op­ment part­ners, need to de­velop and im­ple­ment ef­fec­tive meth­ods of col­lect­ing tourism data to ac­cu­rately as­sess the sec­tor's con­tri­bu­tion to so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. How­ever, at present, many coun­tries are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a se­vere short­age of ba­sic tourism statis­tics. There is lit­tle in­for­ma­tion on how dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the tourism sec­tor con­trib­ute to its ag­gre­gate im­pact, the dis­tri­bu­tion of such im­pacts or how they may be in­creased. Con­sid­er­ing the large amount of data re­quired for eval­u­at­ing sup­ply- and demand-re­lated ag­gre­gates, it re­mains a chal­lenge to ef­fec­tively dis­ag­gre­gate avail­able data to eval­u­ate how eco­nomic im­pact varies by type of tourist, type of tourism or the struc­ture of the sec­tor. There is a dearth of avail­able data on tourism ac­tiv­i­ties cat­e­go­rized by gen­der and an in­con­sis­tent mea­sure­ment of flows of cross-bor­der traders (a sub-cat­e­gory of busi­ness tourists) on the con­ti­nent. In part, ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ment of the ef­fects of tourism pol­icy anal­y­sis is also hin­dered be­cause the sec­tor is not des­ig­nated as an in­dus­try in standard eco­nomic ac­counts. This high­lights the need of gov­ern­ment for im­proved data, for en­hanced quan­ti­ta­tive and eco­nomic pol­icy anal­y­sis of the sec­tor.

The full Re­port can be down­loaded as a PDF file HERE.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.