African tourists emerge as powerhouse for tourism on the continent, says UNCTAD report

Four out of 10 international tourists in Africa come from the continent itself, according to the new UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2017: Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth.

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Pic Credit: Travel Noire

In sub-Saharan Africa, this number increases to two out of every three tourists whose travels originate on the continent. Data backing this key finding show that, contrary to perception, Africans themselves are increasingly driving tourism demand in Africa.

Tourism in Africa is a flourishing industry that supports more than 21 million jobs, or 1 in 14 jobs, on the continent. Over the last two decades, Africa has recorded robust growth, with international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues growing at 6 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, each year between 1995 and 2014.

Focusing on tourism for transformative and inclusive growth, this year’s report encourages African countries to harness the dynamism of the tourism sector.

By collecting and comparing data from two different periods, 1995-1998 and 2011-2014, the report reveals that international tourist arrivals to Africa increased from 24 million to 56 million. Tourism export revenues more than tripled, increasing from $14 billion to approximately $47 billion. As a result, tourism now contributes about 8.5 per cent to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 aims at doubling the contribution of tourism to the continent’s GDP. To meet this target, tourism needs to grow at a faster and stronger pace.

“Tourism is a dynamic sector with phenomenal potential in Africa. Properly managed, it can contribute immensely to diversification and inclusion for vulnerable communities,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

To realize the potential of intraregional tourism for the continent’s economic growth, African Governments should take steps to liberalize air transport, promote the free movement of persons, ensure currency convertibility and, crucially, recognize the value of African tourism and plan for it. These strategic measures can have relatively fast and tangible impacts. In Rwanda, the abolition of visa requirements for fellow members of the East African Community in 2011 helped increase intraregional tourists from 283,000 in 2010, to 478,000 in 2013.

Another important theme highlighted in the report is the mutually beneficial relationship between peace and tourism. Peace is of course fundamental for tourism. The mere appearance of instability in a region can deter tourists, leading to devastating, long-lasting economic consequences. However, the perception of danger does not always correspond with reality.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa had a very high cost in terms of tourism numbers and revenue lost across the entire continent. Despite being limited to relatively few countries in the western part of the continent, tourist arrivals and bookings fell in countries as far from the outbreak as South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The report notes that the economic impacts of political instability can be quite significant and long-lasting. For example, following political instability in Tunisia, total tourism receipts in 2009-2011 declined by 27 per cent on average, from $3.5 billion in 2009 to $2.5 billion in 2011.

Addressing safety and security concerns and swift responses to crises by African Governments and regional institutions are paramount to the growth of tourism in Africa. Promoting strategies aimed at improving Africa’s image in the global media are also critical in ensuring the sector’s recovery after conflict or political unrest.

During the next decade, tourism’s continued growth is expected to generate an additional 11.7 million jobs in Africa. Furthermore, where tourism thrives, women thrive. In Africa, more than 30 per cent of tourism businesses are run by women; and 36 per cent of its tourism ministers are women, which is the highest share in the world.

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Pic Credit: UN Multimedia

Creating firm links between tourism, the agriculture and infrastructure sectors, ecotourism and the medical and cultural tourism market segments can foster diversification into higher value activities and distribute incomes more broadly. To unlock this potential, African Governments should adopt measures that support local sourcing, encourage local entities’ participation in the tourism value chain and boost infrastructure development. This continued investment into the tourism sector in Africa could lift millions out of poverty, while also contributing to peace and security in the region.

See full article here

See UNCTAD report here

Source: TRALAC

Art and its role in telling personal, family and collective histories

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother's Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, photo by Nii Odzenma

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother’s Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, photo by Nii Odzenma

On March 6 2016 as Ghana marked 59 years of independence, Gallery 1957, a new gallery with a curatorial focus on contemporary Ghanaian art by the country’s most significant artists celebrated its inaugural exhibition. With over 400 people in attendance, My Mother’s Wardrobe, a new creative work by Serge Attukwei Clottey captured a diverse and equally enchanted audience.

Founded by Marwan Zakhem, the gallery has evolved from over 15 years of private collecting and offers an ideal location for both local audiences and international visitors to discover new artists, and to gain a deeper understanding of the breadth of their practice through curated exhibitions. With an initial curatorial focus on contemporary Ghanaian art, the gallery will present a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the region’s most significant artists under the creative direction of Nana Oforiatta Ayim. The artist, Serge Attukwei Clottey, is the founder of Ghana’s GoLokal performance collective and the creator of Afrogallonism, an artistic concept commenting on consumption within modern Africa through the utilisation of yellow gallon containers.

Based in Accra and working internationally, Clottey’s powerful testimony to his mother in the aftermath of her death explores narratives of personal, family and collective histories. In continuation of the artist’s established use of assemblage, he considers the value of material as a tangible experience of loss. His works examine the powerful agency of everyday objects, with particular focus on the significance of personal clothing.

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother's Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957 Photo Credit: Nii Odzenma

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother’s Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957 Photo Credit: Nii Odzenma

I recently interviewed Nana Oforiatta Ayim, founder of ANO, and Creative Director of Gallery 1957 to gain a better understanding of Clottey’s work, Gallery 1957, the creatives industry and intrinsically the role of art in exploring and reconciling Ghana’s past and present.

Tell us about yourself

I write, make films, and work as a cultural historian, which involves uncovering or creating new narratives, particularly of what is now known of Ghana, and the regions that surround it. I live in Accra, Ghana, where I founded and run the cultural organisation ANO, and where I am the Creative Director of a new art space, Gallery 1957.

Tell us about ANO, (what does it stand for) how did it come about and what inspired its inception?

The name ANO is an aberration of the Akan word εno, which means grandmother. In Akan mythology, an old woman or grandmother is the ancestress of humankind. And even though, at traditional occasions, at festivals and funerals, it is often the men that play the role of elders, it is the old woman they go out to spiritually consult. I liked this notion of the origin of beings being female, of this alternative history to the dominant one in our largely Christian country, which is of the first human being a man. ANO is largely about the uncovering and re-writing and -formulating of alternative, more covert histories to challenge dominant, sometimes reductive ones. –

It is also a suffix in the language Esperanto, which I love for its ideal of a common language, one that would transcend national divisions, and that means belonging. In a global narrative, which has for so long been dominated by one side, and in which our cultural offerings, our philosophies and ways of being, were to some extent denigrated, I very much liked this ethos of belonging, of us all sitting at the same table, as equals, with all right to be there, no one sitting higher or lower than the other, most especially in a world that still differentiates on a spectrum from first to so-called third world countries.

The third meaning for it is as a short form of A.N. Other, a pseudonym for the unknown or anonymous. I remember going to museums in Europe when I was younger, and often seeing very sparse plaques alongside sculptures or masks, giving very little context or meaning to why they were there, where they were taken from, who created them, and from within what greater narrative they came. There was a sense that these objects like so much else that came from the continent of Africa were raw material, objects of inspiration for ‘greater’ artists with greater understanding, consciousness and agency. And so ANO is also about retelling histories on their own terms or at least attempting to, and in this way giving them more rounded truths.

Has ANO changed since its inception? If so, which significant changes have happened?

I first started working with the notion of ANO as a mobile platform in 2002 curating exhibitions at the Liverpool Biennial, organising events at the Royal Festival Hall in London, making films etc. The most significant change has been ANO’s settling into a physical space in Accra, and also expanding into more large-scale encompassing projects, like the Cultural Encyclopaedia.

Serge Attukwei Clottey, Love and Connections, 2016, Plastics, wire and oil Paint, 95 x 89 inches, ©the artist, courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra

Serge Attukwei Clottey, Love and Connections, 2016, Plastics, wire and oil Paint, 95 x 89 inches, ©the artist, courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra
How do you choose the artists who receive residency such as in the case of Serge Clottey?

It all happens quite organically. ANO is not a static institution with fixed paradigms and goals. It has been very porous and open, listening to and seeing what works, what synergies there are with other creatives, and then acting upon them. The residency programme emerged from shared interests and the notion that mutual collaboration could be of benefit.

What gap if any do you see in the art and creative works industry in Ghana?

I feel that whatever gaps there are are being addressed by people’s ingenuity. New institutions are springing up, like Gallery 1957 and the Archiafrika Gallery of Design and Architecture. The government is putting some funding into the arts, even if it could do a lot better. Institutions, like the National Theatre are starting to engage with young artists, like Ibrahim Mahama and Serge Attukwei Clottey, and of course artists keep pushing at their own boundaries. I think it is a very good time creatively in Ghana, and I’m excited to see what emerges over the next few years.

What role do you see art playing in creating a platform for reconciling socio-cultural, economic and political discourse beyond ANO?

I think art provides another way of seeing, of thinking, of understanding. I think it highlights things that might be obvious to everyone around, but that are not being addressed, as well as things that might not be obvious at all. I think that the more attention is paid to it, the deeper our engagement with our environment will be, as well as that with our own selves, and that in itself is the strongest foundation for any discourse or development.

You have been quoted as saying the following profound words on reconciling art and loss with regards to Clottey’s work:

“According to custom in many parts of Ghana, a person’s wardrobe is locked up for a year after their death then released to relatives, often leaving the person’s offspring with little or nothing of the material memory of that person. Textiles and materials in Ghana, and other parts of West Africa — each weft, line or mark — are potent carriers of memory, of communication, and the artist weaves into his sculptures subtle traces of loss, remembering, and of rebirth.”

In your view, does Clottey’s artistic work resonate with most Ghanaians?

I am going to do a series of talks at Gallery 1957 around his works for schools and universities and workers, and I’m very excited about the exchanges that will happen as a result of that. I think Serge’s work is deeply embedded in Ga cosmogony and offers an aesthetic and provocative way of looking at our past and recreating our future, and it is always a spectacle, which in itself excites people’s attention. The challenge now is to get the work and the discourses around it seen by more people than those naturally drawn to art, and I hope to do that with a series of films around Serge and other artists, their work and the deeper themes.

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother's Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, photo by Nii Odzenma

Serge Attukwei Clottey and GoLokal, My Mother’s Wardrobe, performance at Gallery 1957, 6 March 2016, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, photo by Nii Odzenma
My Mother’s Wardrobe is a result of Clottey’s residency with ANO, whose remit is to uncover hidden and alternative, personal and collective histories, which make up what is now known as Ghana. Can you tell us about other projects you are working on and what to expect in 2016?

There will be a lot of projects in 2016! Another collaboration with Serge on the Korle Lagoon around the themes of nature and its invasion and the mythologies around this within Ga philosophy, as well as a book and film on his work. A collaboration with Zohra Opoku for Gallery 1957, as well as a book and film on her produced by ANO. And an exhibition with Serge, Zohra, and Ibrahim Mahama at the end of the year at LACMA in Los Angeles, for ANO’s Cultural Encyclopaedia project. There will also be a preliminary tour of the country with what I call Living History Hubs, mobile museums, to gather and exhibit material cultural and upload it onto the Cultural Encyclopaedia site. And finally, an exhibition at Gallery 1957 with young artist and performer, Elisabeth Efua Sutherland which resonates deeply with ANO’s remit, as its subject is the role of the feminine in myth-making.

What advice would you give to upcoming artists in Ghana?

To listen deeply to whatever it is that resonates with them the most and to follow that impulse. To look around and see what inspires and challenges them in their environment, as well as outside of it. And to keep working at it, despite all the obstacles, and even without initial support; to create and express even if it is on their street corners or in their family compounds or in a market place, and to keep delving. I feel like it is consistency and integrity of purpose, as well as clarity of expression that draws support, in whatever form, to itself.

Lastly, why is this exhibition a must see for all?

The exhibition is a must see, because Serge is a very talented artist at the full potency of his creative expression. He is experimenting with form and he is delving into the various layers of his environment and bringing them forth in ways that are unexpected and that enchant and expand. The exhibition is a testament to ingenuity, to diligence, to just what is possible, and because of that I think acts a source of inspiration.

 

This article first appeared in my blog post @ Africa at LSE .

Investment policy reforms in Africa: How can they be synchronized?

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Pic Credit: Africa start up Eco system

African countries are increasingly implementing investment policy reforms as part of their efforts to build policy frameworks that are development-oriented and that balance investor and state rights and obligations. Such reforms are currently being adopted at continental, regional, bilateral and national levels, and include the negotiation of new investment treaties or policies and improving the existing investment policies or laws. However, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report (2017), notes that, if not carefully managed, the reforms ‘risk overlapping with one another, potentially diluting the impact of regional reform efforts and creating a more complex regime instead of harmonizing and consolidating it.’ This will result in unfavorable treaty multiplication as well as policy uncertainty and unpredictability and, ultimately, reduce investor confidence. Promoting investor confidence and policy certainty is key to Africa considering the continent’s desire to stimulate and expedite investment.

This Discussion Note briefly examines current examples of investment reforms in Africa and how they can be synchronized to bring about the intended reform without posing new challenges and jeopardizing investment promotion and protection. The Note significantly draws on insights from the 2017 UNCTAD World Investment (ibid).

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Investment policy reforms in Africa

At the continental level, the fifty-five African Union member states anticipate to launch a continental free trade area (CFTA) by December this year which is expected to include an investment chapter. The chapter is scheduled to be negotiated in the second phase of the CFTA negotiations together with competition and intellectual property issues. Though too early to project, the investment chapter is to be aligned with the overall objective of the CFTA – to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. Considering that the CFTA will bring together all the AU countries, it is critical for African leaders to start thinking how to effect investment reforms within the CFTA in such a manner that will not cause the above mentioned challenges.

At the regional level, the South African Development Community (SADC) member states at the 36th SADC Summit in August 2016 adopted an agreement amending Annex 1 of the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment (2006). The Annex was amended to remove fair and equitable treatment as well as investor-state dispute settlement provisions, to refine the definitions of investment and investors, and include public policy measures exceptions to expropriation as well as to include regulatory autonomy of host states and investor obligations. However, the amendments will come into effect upon ratification by three-quarters of the SADC member states.

Also important to mention here is investment issues in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), which are scheduled to be negotiated in the second phase of the negotiations together with trade in services, competition policy and intellectual property rights.

At national levels, many countries including Botswana, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco are reforming their investment policies with a view to adopting ones that carve out policy space and are aligned to their national development objectives.

Moreover, African countries continue to conclude and negotiate bilateral investment treaties (BITs) or treaties with investment provisions with countries within and outside the continent. In 2016, for instance, Nigeria concluded BITs with Singapore and United Arab Emirates; Morocco concluded a BIT with Russia; and Rwanda concluded a BIT with Turkey.

In addition, six SADC member states (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa) concluded, with the European Union (EU), the Economic Partnership Agreement in 2016 which contains provisions relevant to investment including market access, national treatment (NT) and most favoured nation (MFN) with respect to commercial presence, free movement of capital. The EU is negotiating similar agreements with Central African, East African, West Africa as well as Eastern and Southern African countries.

Furthermore, African countries are developing guiding principles for investment policy making with Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, and the EU.[5] These principles are developed in line with the ongoing relations between Africa and the EU, Caribbean and Pacific states and will be used to inform their investment relations and policies in the future.

Synchronizing the investment policy reforms

In investment policy reform processes, African countries must cooperate at continental, regional, bilateral and national (as well as multilateral) to avoid undesirable treaty disintegration, overlaps and multiplication. The UNCTAD (2017) has provided ten policy options to serve as important reference for countries reforming their investment policies, particularly those negotiating new treaties or adopting new laws.

Image result for fdi aFRICA Among these options include: joint interpretation of treaty provisions; amending treaty provisions; replacing outdated treaties; consolidating treaties; managing relationships between co-existing treaties; referencing global standards; engaging multilaterally; abandoning unratified old treaties; terminating existing old treaties; withdrawing from multilateral treaties. Important to note is that each option has pros and cons, therefore determining the best option requires ‘a careful and facts- based cost-benefit analysis, while addressing many of broader challenges’. It is submitted that the best option is one which is balanced, predictable and suitable for sustainable development.

Joint interpretation of treaties includes shared government action of interpreting treaties without amending or re-negotiating (re-signing or re-ratifying) the treaty. This is probably the fastest and simplest way of treaty reform; and it brings clarity to treaty obligations or provisions for investors, host states and tribunals. Recent treaties including, for example, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (2016), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (2009) and even the Morocco-Nigeria BIT (2016) expressly address joint interpretations. However, this policy option may be difficult to negotiate in situation where there are pending disputes involving the application of provisions in question. It is also restricted in its effect in that it cannot wholly create a new meaning to the provision being interpreted.

Amending treaty provisions involves making changes or improvements to specific clauses of existing treaties. It allows states to expressly carve out their intended policy objectives and priorities. However, amendments of treaty provisions require agreement among and subsequent ratification by contracting parties, and this may be difficult to achieve if they are multiple contracting parties with contrasting views. For instance, the SADC member states amended Annex I of the SADC FIP in August 2016 and the amendments are yet to be ratified.

Replacing or substituting outdated treaties with new ones is another policy option and has been used by Morocco recently. Per UNCTAD (2017), ‘approaching the treaty afresh enables the parties to achieve a higher degree of change (vis-à-vis selective amendments) and to be more rigorous and conceptual in designing an IIA that reflects their contemporary shared vision’. However, this process ‘can be cost- and time-intensive, as it involves the negotiation of the treaty from scratch, does not guarantee inclusion of reform-oriented elements (depends on the negotiated outcome), and requires effective transition between the old and the new treaties’. To safeguard smooth transition, it is important to include explicit transition clauses clearly defining the time-period for applying old BITs.

Consolidating the investment treaty network means replacing pre-existing treaties by signing a regional/plurilateral agreement. For example, Australia agreed to terminate its BITs with Mexico, Peru and Vietnam on entry into force of the TPP. This is a holistic and comprehensive approach to investment reform and can reduce the risk of fragmentation and overlaps. But, this can be more difficult to achieve particularly in plurilateral negotiations and requires the consent of all contracting parties. As TFTA and CFTA have the potential to replace existing BITs between the contracting parties (intra-African investment agreements), the question is will the African countries agree to terminate their existing intra-Africa investment treaties? To overcome these challenges, it may be appealing to grant flexibility to the parties to decide their preferences.

Another policy option is to manage the relationships of co-existing (old and new) treaties. This is mostly possible when the new treaties are plurilateral or regional free trade agreements with an investment chapter and the old treaties are BITs. However, this policy option is not conducive for investment reform specifically in cases where the treaties differ in content and scope. To overcome these challenges, countries need to include specific provisions clarifying how the treaties will interact – for instance, in situations of conflict, the new treaties will override the old ones.

Referencing global standards relates to mentioning globally agreed best practices or instruments (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals, UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development, the ILO Tripartite MNE Declaration and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights). In the African context, it may also be important to mention relevant continental initiatives (e.g. Agenda 2063, Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa and Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa). This is cost-effective and time-efficient in that countries will make use of previously agreed instruments. However, this option provides wide interpretive discretion for the arbitrators, and parties will not have control over future developments of the agreed instruments.

Engaging multilaterally is the most effective way to address the inconsistencies, overlaps arising from individual countries’ reforms and it is more likely to result in uniform, binding and comprehensive investment standards at global level. But is also the most difficult as obtaining the consensus of many countries is hard to achieve. The failure of the multilateral agreement on investment in 1995 is a point of reference here.

Abandoning unratified old treaties is another way of synchronising investment reform. A country can simply abandon unratified treaties (not ratifying them) or expressly take a decision not to be bound in order to negotiate new treaties – for instance, the US publicly announced its intention not to be party to the TPP early this year. As of December 2016, 165 intra-African BITs have been signed and only 38 are in force, according to UNCTAD.

Another option available for countries is to unilaterally or mutually terminate existing old treaties. For instance, South Africa unilaterally terminated its old BITs with nine EU member states between 2013 and 2014 with a view to signing new ones preserving regulatory autonomy. Quite often rules for the termination of treaties are set out in the treaty. The termination of old treaties could result in situations where investors of one party no longer have legal protection in the host state.

Lastly, withdrawal from multilateral treaties is another policy option for countries to consolidate investment reforms. According to UNCTAD, the ‘unilateral withdrawal from an investment-related multilateral treaty releases the withdrawing party from the instrument’s obligations and – depending on the treaty at issue – can help minimise a country’s exposure to investor claims. Unilateral withdrawal can also signal the country’s apparent loss of faith in the system and a desire to exit from it (rather than reform it)’. However, withdrawal from could negatively affect the country’s cooperation with other countries.

Conclusion

While African countries are (individually or cooperatively) transforming their investment laws and engaging in new investment policy making negotiations, it is crucial for policymakers to consider harmonizing or consolidating these reforms at all (continental, regional and national) levels to avoid undesirable fragmentation and overlaps of investment regimes. It is also important to consider the countries’ investment agreements with external partners. More importantly, policymakers should carefully consider facts-based cost-benefit analysis of a particular policy choice that will reflect the aspired reforms, while addressing many of broader challenges.

Source: TRALAC

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