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Abeiku Santana writes: "The African Factor"

Africa's population is 1.2 billion and its extirpated to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050. The average age is 19.5 years. Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya have a growth rate ranging from 6 to 8.5%.

Africa is the world's second fastest growing economy after east Asia Tourism And GDP. Tourism accounted for 7.8% of Africa's GDP ($165 billion in 2016).

NUMBER OF VISITORS 

There were 58 million tourist arrivals in 2016 and this number is expected to grow to 110 million by 2027.
One out three Africans are part of the middle class and this is expected to double by 2050.

Africa is expected to attract 64 million international tourist arrivals in 2017 as compared to 58 million in 2016. 

Africa accounts for only 3% of the world's air traffic. AITA predicts a stronger growth of 4.8% in passenger numbers in the next 5 years starting 2017. 131 sites are designated UNESCO world heritage sites in Africa located in 37 countries this accounts for 12% compared to the rest of the world. 

According to an African survey conducted in 2016, the major issues regarding traveling in the continent are cost, visa restriction, travel booking and flight connection. 

Among challenges facing african tourism are terrorism which has affected countries like Kenya, Tunisia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire , Egypt and Nigeria. In 2016, the African Union launched a common visa policy including visa on arrival for all african citizens. This agenda also includes the goal of having a single African continental passport by 2020. 

HAPPY AFRICA DAY

Each year on May 25, Africa celebrates its day to reclaim peace, dignity and justice for Africans. This day is also celebrated by Africans in the diaspora but like many other holidays, the point and history of the african day celebration, seems lost in many ways.  The formation of the african unity organization launched on May 25, 1963 by 32 free nations led by Tanzania's Julius Nyerere, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure of of Guinea and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. 

Colonialism is no longer a common enemy of Africa. Therefore we must find a clear common message that is important to all African member states. Free travel and by extension free trade between countries remain a tall order. At the moment, upto 5 million passengers a year, face difficulties traveling between african countries due to unnecessary restrictions. 10 out of 55 countries allow visa free to africans and Ghana is proud to be part of this 10. In comparison, Americans can travel to at least 20 African countries without restrictions by Africans.  At the moment, intra-African trade accounts for a small share of trade on the continent. 

WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING ON THIS AU DAY?

Did you know that almost one-third of sub Saharan African youth lack basic skills and lower secondary, tertiary school enrollment, hence jobless youth growth.

Democracy is the norm in many african countries these days but it seems as if our definition of democracy these days is skewed in favor of presidents and partisan politics.

Can we say the objectives of AU which includes the promotion and solidarity among African states coordinating efforts to achieve a better life for African people defending the sovereignty, territorial intergrity and independent African states is being achieved?

Dear readers, let us stop and reflect on the vision and goals we have set for ourselves to achieving a United States of Africa.

It's been over a decade since ECOWAS made a declaration for a single unitary currency for its members and thus ECO which had billboards all across the countries. From the Ghanaian perspective, It could be argued that the most elegant way to give meaning to the celebration of Africa - presumably the point of "Africa Day" - is by celebrating the unique identity of the african continent, the birthplace of humanity. 

This however for some mysterious reasons seem undoable for african countries. As an example, I will focus on the failure of my own country, Ghana, to celebrate its own identity. Ghana, the Gold Coast of Kwame Nkrumah one the founding fathers of AU (OAU) is a land of intriguing history, phenomenal cultural heritage and ethnic diversity.

Ghana's with fascinating chiefs and kings. It is the home of the beloved Kofi Annan, the birthplace of post colonial independence and arguably the most peaceful country in african; the country that boasts of Lake Volta, gorgeous Kente, unruly Kejetia and any self-respecting grain of jollof rice and yet Ghana's tourist sites are for the most part, embarrassingly poorly managed.

And there's a scarcity of auditoriums and major event venues for tourist events in Ghana. As in, take out the National Theatre and the International Conference center, neither of which is an ideal venue for major tourist Events. And you will be left with a few dusty football parks and dingy spaces under trees.

The Ghana movie industry struggles to depict the beauty of the country while a significant part of the music industry merely constitutes ludicrous adaptation of foreign hip pop culture.

We will need to focus efforts in these fruitless on these mention.

References:

Jumia: Africa's Leading Online Travel Agency.

Moussa Faki - President of AU Commission

Teiko Sabba - writer & blogger

Contributors 

Abed Awuah-Gyawu

Founder Homeland Global

Najib Zebrilla

Ultrasound practitioner, Founder Nazeposit & StatsGH

Compiled by

Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey

Tourism Destination

Markerter, Marketing Communications, Events Management

Hospitality and Tour Operations.

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