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

Redefining Work

By Esko Kilpi

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Pic Credit: Esko Kilpi

The most modern definition of work is “an exchange in which the participants benefit from the interaction”. Interestingly, cooperation is also described as “an exchange in which the participants benefit from the interaction”.

The way we view work life is influenced by the way we view the world. This view rests on the most fundamental assumptions we make about reality. In the present competitive view of the world, we often think that the most capable are those who are the most competitive, and accordingly that competition creates and secures capability and long-term viability in the world (of work).

But what if high performance is incorrectly attributed to competition and is more a result of diversity, self-organizing communication and non-competitive processes of cooperation?

Competitive processes lead to the handicapping of the system that these processes are part of. This is because competitive selection leads to exclusion: something or somebody, the losers, is left outside. Leaving something out of an ecosystem always means a reduction of diversity. The resulting less diverse system is efficient in the short term and competition seems to work, but always at the expense of long-term viability. Sustainability, agility and complex problem solving require more diversity, not less.

As losers are excluded from the game, they are not allowed to learn. The divide between winners and losers grows constantly. Losers multiply as winning behaviors are replicated in the smaller winners’ circles and losing behaviors are replicated in the bigger losers’ circles. This is why, in the end, the winners have to pay the price of winning in one way or another. The bigger the divide of inequality, the bigger the price that finally has to be paid. The winners end up having to take care of the losers. Before that two totally different cultures are formed in society, as is happening in many places today.

The games we play have been played under the assumption that the unit of survival is the player, meaning the individual or a company. However, in the time of the Anthropocene, the reality is that the unit of survival is the player in the game being played. Following Darwinian rhetoric, the unit of survival is the species in its environment. Who wins and who loses is of minor importance compared to the decay of the (game) environment as a result of the actions of the players.

In games that were paradoxically competitive and cooperative at the same time, losers would not be eliminated from the game, but would be invited to learn from the winners. What prevents losers learning from winners is our outdated zero-sum thinking and the winner-takes-all philosophy.

In competitive games the players need to have the identical aim of winning the same thing. Unless all the players want the same thing, there cannot be a genuine contest. Human players and their contributions are, at best, too diverse to rank. They are, and should be, too qualitatively different to compare quantitatively. Zero-sum games were the offspring of scarcity economics. In the post-industrial era of abundant creativity and contextuality, new human-centric approaches are needed.

Before Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” and came out with the idea of the invisible hand, he had already written something perhaps even more interesting for our time. In “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” he argued that a stable society was based on sympathy. He underlined the importance of a moral duty — to have regard for your fellow human beings

Cooperative processes are about interdependent individuals and groups defining and solving problems in a shared context. Individuals competing on job markets may be one of the historic mistakes we have inherited from the industrial age. It made sense a long time ago but now we should think differently.

Interaction creates capability beyond individuals. Cooperative performance can be more than what could ever be predicted just by looking at the performance of the parties involved in a competitive game. Higher performance and robustness are emergent properties of cooperative interaction. They are not attributable to any of the parts of the system or to the functioning of the markets.

Networks provide a problem-solving capability that results directly from the richness of communication and the amount of connectivity. What happens in interaction between the parts creates a reality that cannot be seen in the parts or even all of the parts. What we have called the “whole” is an emergent pattern of interaction, not the sum of the parts or an entity on a different level from the parts.

The same principle explains why we have financial crises that no one planned and wars that no one wants. On the other hand, the great societal promise is that interaction in wide-area networks, with enough diversity, can solve problems beyond the awareness of the individuals involved.

What defines most problems today is that they are not isolated and independent but connected and systemic. To solve them, a person has to think not only about what he believes the right answer is, but also about what other people think the right answers might be. Following the rhetoric of game theory, what each person does affects and depends on what everyone else will do and vice versa.

Most managers and decision makers are still unaware of the implications of the complex, responsive properties of the world we live in. Enterprises are not organized to facilitate the management of interactions, only the actions of parts taken separately. Even more, compensation structures normally reward improving the actions of parts, not their interactions.

Work that humans do used to be a role; now it is a task, but it is going to be a relationship: work is interaction between interdependent people. The really big idea of 2016 is to reconfigure agency in a way that brings relationships into the center. The mission is to see action within relationships.

Amartyta Sen has written that wealth should not be measured by what we have but what we can do. As we engage in new relationships and connect with thinking that is different from ours, we are always creating new potentials for action. In competitive/cooperative games the winners would be all those whose participation, comments and contributions are incorporated into the development of the game.

Major changes in economic patterns have historically been associated with a technological change leading to a sudden discovery of underutilized resources. Examples are many raw materials shipped from far away countries, gold in California, large number of workers in China, idle computing power or, lately, privately owned cars.

The most underutilized resource still waiting for discovery may be our ability to cooperate much more deeply than the systems of work have so far envisioned.

And we have the tools!

This article was originally posted on the Medium

 

To change the world, change your illusions | Minna Salami |

In this inspiring TEDx Talk, Minna Salami shares a story about the beauty of Africa and African womanhood, her work, feminism in Africa: its contentions and opportunities, and how ultimately we all are connected.

Her words that captured me the most read as follows…. “The more illusions you have about other people which is to say the more erroneous perceptions you have about the reality of peoples lives, the less likely you are to find the meaning of yours…in this exciting but delicate times of globalization it is important more than ever that our inner worlds expand at the same pace as the outer world does, it is time for radical change but this means that we ourselves must radically change.”

Source TEDxBrixton

I long for an Africa…

I long for an Africa where we no longer are shackled from our past, a continent no longer riddled with death, destruction and disease; A continent where children and adults alike are rooted in their being, that being a people of diverse and rich history, resource wealth, immense kindness and profound intellect. A people rooted in the essence of who they’ve always been.

I long to see a continent that exemplifies Ubuntu; an inner and outer knowing that I AM BECAUSE WE ARE. Socially one, politically and economically integrated, no longer plagued by the vices of corruption, class division and that imminent disease…individualism.

I long to see an Africa where the child born this hour in Ghana and the one born within the next in Lesotho are healthy and wealthy not because of aristocracy or other family affiliations, but because of the immense wealth generated by the governments and the governed through legitimate egalitarian systems of development.

I long for the day when my friend Ines from Cape Verde, will call to give me the good news of her newly born child and I will readily and easily hop onto the next flight unfettered by cost or connection; a continent wide unmatched strong infrastructural system. That when Patrigue from DRC calls to inform on the same, I will be elated from it as well as at the ease at which she was able to deliver. That her health is of top priority to the government. That her well being before, during and after child birth have been catered to, same goes to her husband. Maternal deaths and child mortality a thing of the past.

I long for an Africa where leaders have a proclivity for action over rhetoric. That they will continuously strive to build a strong nationhood, unbridled by external forces. That they will do this first among themselves and then with pragmatic partners continuously and tirelessly, with utmost dedication,discipline and zeal.

That one day the East Asian Tigers will finally remark with exasperation and joy, “What took you this long?” “Let us forge on!”

I long for the day my yet to be born children will tell me of their ambitions to be budding entrepreneurs in Lagos, Banjul and Abidjan and I will wish them well with unwavering confidence, not because of favoritism in the system but because of a robust, healthy and competitive African market that inspires and rewards innovation and creativity.

That when the world looks on and marvels at this continent, they will immerse themselves in the beauty of our transformation, the beauty of our well written and documented stories, because after all….behind the glory there’s always a profound story.

I earnestly long for an Africa that is integrated, prosperous and at peace with itself.

The Way We Lived – A Review of Chinua Achebe’s ‘There Was a Country’

AiW Guest: Pelu Awofeso

there-was-a-countryAfter the dust raised in Nigeria by its publication had settled, I finally read There Was a Country, Chinua Achebe’s last published book, which centres on the Nigeria-Biafra civil war and Achebe’s personal experiences of and participation in it. But that is not where the story ends, because the book is also as much about Achebe’s “coming of age” story as it is about Nigeria’s long spell with bad, visionless leadership. Page after page, the author takes the reader on a historical journey through Nigeria’s smelly underbelly, unfolding the dirty linens one by one and revealing in shocking detail where “the rain began to beat” his beloved country.

It is more or less like being shown CCTV footage of a series of crimes that could have been prevented. With There Was a Country, I felt like a teenager seated at the feet of an elder…

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Paint a Canvas of Africa

I really wish I knew how to draw/paint; I’ve always dreamed of one day being able to pick up a paint brush and getting lost in colour, textures and emotion. Maybe it’s a block, maybe it’s not, but for now I’ll settle with knowing how to draw stick people, stick flowers, stick mountains and stick cars. I am constantly in awe of people who have the talent.

There’s something about art, music and words that draws us closer to God, nature, to our essence of being human and strips us to our basics. They make us authentic. Think about that love song that once made you cry, smile or laugh. Or the words of a friend, or from religious scripture that gave you courage and hope. There so many examples to pick from.

Stephen Covey in his renowned book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People reminds us that the creative process is one of the most, if not the most terrifying part of being human because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or where it is going to lead. You don’t know what new dangers and challenges you’ll find. It takes an enormous amount of internal security to begin with the spirit of adventure, discovery, and creativity. Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness.

Creativity is indeed the God-force extending itself through us and to us; the artist is the channel. Art evokes emotion, one gets lost in its dimensions and finds themselves again.

There’s an art piece that does just that for me. ‘Misguided Little Unforgivable Hierarchies’ by Wangechi Mutu.

This piece grapples with the sensitive topic of female oppression and the need for women’s empowerment to achieve our development goals as a continent.

Ms. Mutu has kept the story of the female at the centre of this piece and it’s a reminder that women and girls are the backbone of society. Through this piece of art she depicts women’s ‘bodies’ as the place where various social hierarchies are inscribed and as the place most vulnerable to change social norms; transforming them for the better. It attempts to break down the barriers that stifle progress in society.

This piece depicts a man, woman and monkey on top of each other doing a risky balancing act. The man is crouched down with his head facing up, feet firmly perched on the grass and mouth ajar expectant of the woman to meet his needs. While the woman on the other hand is above him bending over backward as if to reach his mouth but her arms are being held back by the monkey.

The woman bending over backwards is a reminder of female oppression which continues to engulf the African society today. This same woman who is expected to meet the man’s needs is being held back by tradition. The blood splotches portray to me the effect of a relationship rooted in abuse.

Dear readers, talks on gender equality is not noise. If one looks at the richest nations in this world, particularly if we zero in on the Nordic countries, one will realize that they have cemented the fact that achieving gender equality is not idealistic when improving society; it’s mandatory and they have kept their aspirations on this lofty. I encourage you to do a study and one of the things you’ll realize is that the development institutions in these countries report to the gender and finance Ministers. Closer to home, have a look at Rwanda, the country that holds the no. 1 position in the global ranking of women in parliament.There’s nothing obscure on why these strong economies do so.

Where women are given equal opportunities they make a real and lasting difference for everyone. Too many studies have been done and the results have indicated the same thing, when you invest in women, you invest in generations; women invest back in their families 90% of their income, men 30%. This is not about power play, it’s about interdependence.

This piece continues to challenge me especially when thinking about the current state of affairs in Africa, and the changes that need to be made for effective and sustainable development.

Which creative piece does this for you?

The passion of uncle Ruckus, House of Slaves, the Slave Trade

Uncle Ruckus: If you black of skin and full of sin, come forward so I may lay my hands on you.

[slaps a black man]

Uncle Ruckus: Black be gone!
[slaps black woman]

Uncle Ruckus: Praise White Jesus!
[slaps another black man]

Uncle Ruckus: Now, I want everybody to find the nearest black man and lay hands on him. But first, make sure your hand is balled up in a fist so you can beat the black outta his soul. God smiles when you hate blackness so you beat that darkie in the name of the Almighty! Hallelujah!
[the whole congregation starts beating each other. Granddad pulls Tom away from the melee]

Uncle Ruckus: That’s right! Ronald Regan said ‘Beat a blackie and go to Heaven.’ God is good! Now, let us pray. Lord, I have spent my whole life hating you for making me black. And now I see I must hate myself and all those like me. And cause them misery just like your servant, Ronald Reagan did. And if any of my words don’t come directly from the Almighty God himself, then may I be struck by lightning right this very instant! Halle-

[Ruckus is struck by lightning]

Uncle Ruckus: AAAAHHHHHHH!

(Scene from Boondocks)

Pause and Rewind.

I would like to go back in time, back to a place where being black was indeed a crime and burden, a place that knows pain and anguish, has seen both tears and immense fear, witnessed countless deaths as well as countless atrocities; a place known for the role that it played in the slave trade era; that place being Goree Island.

To be more specific, the place is Maison des esclaves, a slave house that has in fact been preserved well and looks just as it did several hundreds of years ago.

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As I set foot into the building, I couldn’t help but try and fathom what was going through the minds of women, children and men as they stepped into the house back then. Some fighting to avoid getting in despite the heavy shackles on their feet; others silent from the acceptance of their impending doom; others being unable to look their children in the eye, while others breaking down from the sight of them. Honestly, I couldn’t fathom it, and just those thoughts in themselves made my chest tense up.

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Below is a picture showing the manner in which the slaves were ferried across; stacked as if lifeless objects or what you would of marbles in a bowl.

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Below is the children’s room which is about 8 square foot in size and that held 30 in number. Children were separated from their parents and were left to relieve themselves within the same space; this is the same place in which they were fed.

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Below is one of the windows in the room, one can see that the opening narrows outward to avoid the children from escaping.

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Below is where the rogue prisoners were kept. A small space underneath the stairs that led to the colonial master’s quarters above. The prisoners were stacked there whether dead or alive. One can only imagine the trauma and disease.

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A sobering fact to note is that the colonial masters held parties and hosted dinners in the top quarters while the slaves were at the bottom barely a few metres away.

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Quite the sobering and heart wrenching visit.

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The slave trade era dates back hundreds of years yet whose reverberations still ring true today. This is what I wish to write on today. Mental slavery as witnessed through uncle Ruckus above and many of us through our day to day activities.

On various platforms today, be it political, social or economic, Africa is still yet to rid itself of its shackles.

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(Art piece by Goree Island resident)

For starters, when did it become okay for us to export majority of our agricultural produce when our citizens still die from hunger?

The recently convened African Union second high level private sector and agribusiness meeting saw discussions surrounding this topic. A participant rightly put it when he stated that Africa has lagged behind in emancipating itself from slavery giving the example of Nigeria which imports tea from England when it could do so from Kenya. This statement is not only true for the West African state, but one that sheds light on the entire continent. Today intra African trade stands at barely 12%.

Moving on, when was it ever okay to require 33 visas to travel around Africa? In fact to connect between some countries in Africa, one needs to leave the continent only to fly back in.

When did headlines such as these ever become acceptable especially in the year 2014?

“14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax for the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization”

The article continues as follows… “14 African countries are obliged by France, trough a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control. Until now, 2014, Togo and about 13 other African countries still have to pay colonial debt to France.” To read the full article kindly do so here.

Where did we go wrong?

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds,” Bob Marley stated.

Indeed there is no temptation so insidious as the one of pointing fingers when it comes to slavery today. No one is to blame but us. Uncle Ruckus rants are our own doing.

When will we begin to take pan africanism and the African renaissance seriously?

“Besides, political independence, though worthwhile in itself, is still only a means to the fuller redemption and realization of a people. When independence has been gained, positive action requires a new orientation away from the sheer destruction of colonialism and towards national reconstruction. It is indeed in this address to national reconstruction that positive action faces its gravest dangers. The cajolement, the wheedling, the seductions and the Trojan horses of neocolonialism must be stoutly resisted, for neocolonialism is a latter-day harpy, a monster which entices its victims with sweet music. In order to be able to carry out this resistance to neo-colonialism at every point, positive action requires to be armed with an ideology, an ideology which, vitalizing it, and operating through a mass party with a regenerative concept of the world and life, forge for it a strong continuing link with our past and offer to it an assured bond with our future. Under the searchlight of an ideology, every fact affecting the life of a people can be assessed and judged, and neo-colonialism’s detrimental aspirations and sleights of hand will constantly stand. In order that this ideology should be comprehensive, in order that it should light up every aspect of the life of our people, in order that it should affect the total interest of our society, establishing a continuity with our past, it must be socialist in form and in content and be embraced by a mass party.” Kwame Nkurumah

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(Friends at the door of no return)

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