#VAMag: Empowering Youth and Women through Tourism

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To diversify economies, tourism holds the key. To bail out the vulnerable in society, tourism is the surest and reliable tool to employ.

In a report on Africa and its future development, the consensus was that the continent will need a definite demographic turn around if it is to realise its full potential. This is because the rate of population growth from the current 1.2 billion to the expected 2.7 billion by the middle of the current millennium i.e. 2050 will see over 50% of Africa’s population below 35years.This is frightening.

This then requires drastic interventions to address youth and women unemployment and sustenance.

The current influx of migrants from Africa through dangerous adventures on the Mediterranean Sea tells it all. Both Africa and the European Union are struggling to find a solution. From the look of things, this phenomenon is not going to abate now.

A critical look at the migrant situation paints a picture of young African women and men who are frustrated by the hopeless situations in their respective countries and are defying all the odds to embark on these dangerous forays and damn the consequences.

Research has shown that nearly 10 million youth enter the labour market every year in Africa and the question is how is the continent going to resolve this overwhelming burden?

In the light of the above, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has identified tourism as providing the key to help resolve this embarrassing phenomenon and for which most African countries must embrace now or never.

The UNWTO sees tourism as empowering women and recognising the empowered to transform communities and the entire world.

There is no denying the fact that Africa’s future is embedded in its ability to harness the potential of tourism to create opportunities for its ever-increasing youth and women to benefit from. The UNWTO sees ‘’tourism as a low hanging fruit for many African States and key to tackling other socio-economic offers for real hope’’…!!
Some women groups in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa have taken the bull by the horn in creating economic opportunities and social relations through tourism for the benefit of entire communities.

Elsewhere in this edition, a Nigerian lawyer and business woman, Bolanle Austen-Peters has established an educational and cultural outfit that employs over 200 youth. This situation strengthens the argument espoused by this editorial.

In Ghana, the activities of the manufacturers of beads near Kpong in the Eastern Region is empowering the youth in the area of self-employment and improving their economic circumstances and the communities in which they live.

Tourism has been identified as the economic and social activity that will eventually curb the rural / urban migration in our part of the world. This is because in most African Countries and the third world, tourism is rural based and the youth and women who live in such areas will find it unattractive to migrate if they are economically empowered by their natural endowments which are mostly tourism attractions. It can also stop social antagonism between the rural and urban youth as well as discourage the infectious and incessant search for white- collar jobs by the youth after school. The idle youth out of frustration are engaged in armed conflicts to kill and maim their own kith and kin and Africa is the sufferer for it.

Africa’s time to embrace tourism to empower her youth and women to avoid being a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the world is now.

This is the editorial of the September Issue of the VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine.

Click to view the September Issue of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

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