Windhoek – The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and the UN World Tourism Organization signed a second Memorandum of Understanding on 15 June 2021, in Windhoek, Namibia.
The ceremony took place at the margins of the Regional Conference on Strengthening Brand Africa for the Swift Recovery of the Tourism Sector. The first MoU was signed in 2016.
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding is to enhance cooperation between the AUDA-NEPAD and UNWTO in identified areas of mutual interest; with a view to:
• Promote tourism as a tool for development in Africa in line with UNWTO´s Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth and Africa’s Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals on sustainable economic growth and inclusive development;
• Build strong partnerships to support the development of the tourism sector in Africa; and
• Support African countries in their recovery strategies from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic effects and accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector.
In his speech, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the AUDA-NEPAD said, “Africa’s Heads of States and Governments created the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, to coordinate and execute priority regional and continental projects enshrined in Agenda with the aim of accelerating regional integration so as to achieve the Africa We Want”. One of its key partners in the implementation of priority regional and continental projects is UNWTO, according to Dr. Mayaki.
He underscored that the implementation of the first MoU from 2016 produced key results, including the establishment of the African Tourism Tech Adventure in 2018– a platform to encourage youth entrepreneurship in the tourism sector, to provide tourism solutions through technology; technically supported the drafting of the African Regional Tourism Strategy in 2018, aimed at driving sustainable tourism growth in the continent; and is currently co-publishing a white paper on Tourism Security, to address safety concerns in African tourism, including early warning systems for dealing with pandemics.
Dr Mayaki assured that AUDA-NEPAD looks forward to implementing the renewed cooperation with UNWTO, to foster socio-economic development in Africa, through a sustainable tourism.
“In the light of the successful joint implementation of activities under the previous MoU, both entities would build on the productive cooperation through the implementation of the new MoU”, according to H.E. Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization. H.E. Pololikashvili stated that the occasion of the MoU signing reinforces the partnership of both entities, to allow for the exploration of new areas of common interest, especially in regards to capacity building in digitization and innovation, as these are essential tools required to adapt to the new global context.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Hage Geingob, the President of Namibia stated that “Namibia has identified tourism as a key socio-economic contributor and as such, the government has mainstreamed it in its national development goals”. The President underscored that tourism could return to pre-COVID level, when international tourists begin to travel to places of their choice. To do that would require universal access to vaccination against COVID 19, as well as build the capacities of Medium and Small Size Enterprises in the sector. H.E. Geingob also called for the promotion of African tourism brand, through media and use of technology.
The conference is being attended by ministers of tourism from about ten African countries, members of the diplomatic corps, UN Agencies, development partners, the media, and civil society.