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African Free Trade: A Winner for Transportation, Infrastructure and Services

Tourism and Transportation are an integrated part of transportation and services.

At this upcoming UN meeting about the African Continental Free Trade Area, top African leaders, including heads of State will discuss.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday is giving Dr. Walter Mzembi, Chair for Africa at the World Tourism Network an opportunity to present his idea of a way forward for Africa.

Heads of State are expected to attend and deliver a message of African coordination and unity. It includes H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Republic of Niger; H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana. The Presidential keynote address will be given by H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone, and H.E. Ms. Isatou Touray, Vice- President of The Gambia.

Adequate and efficient infrastructure and services across all modes of transport and tourism are critical to reopening the full benefit of the AfCFTA and economic growth. Moreover, the transport sector contributes significantly to job creation and the GDP of African countries.

A high-level discussion on this subject followed by a call to action will include:
H.E. Monique Nsanzabahanwa, Deputy Chairman for the African Union Commission; Professor Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export & Import Bank; Mr. Esayas Woldemariam, Acting Group CEP for Ethiopian Airlines; Mr. Allan Kilavuka, CEP for Kenyan Airways, and TBC Scott Mather, Chief Investment Officer, PIMCO.

It is envisaged that the African Continental Free Trade Area will lead to significant growth in freight across all modes of transport, including roads, rail, air, and maritime transport. This translates into investment opportunities provided by increased demand for transport infrastructure and services, with a focus on air transport.

A panel of experts including Mr. Aberdahmane Berthe, Secretary-general for the African Airline Association; Mr. Busera Awaol, Group VP for strategic planning and alliances for Ethiopian Airlines, Ms. Yacine Falm acting VP at the African Development Bank Group, Ms. Angeline Simana, interim Secretary-General for the African Civil Aviation Commission; Ms. Emily Mburu, Director for services of the AfCTFA, and Mr. Hany Abdelkawi, Head of Travel Sales and International Growth for Google will be exchange ideas.

Shame on UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili
Dr. Walter Mzembi, VP and Chair World Tourism Network Africa

A way forward and policy directions will be presented by Dr. Walter Mzembi, Chairman of World Tourism Network Africa, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs & Tourism for the Republic of Zimbabwe. He will be discussing a way forward with Mr. Stephen Karingi, director for regional integration and trade division for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and his colleague Mr. Robert Lisinge, Chef of the Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section of the Private Sector Development and Finance Division, and Mr. Geoffrey Manyara, Economic Affairs Officer for East Africa.

Quick facts:

  • The transport sector will strongly benefit from AfCFTA
  • This benefit will be optimized if AfCFTA is accompanied by implementation of regional infrastructure projects
  • The estimated cost of trucks required as a result of AfCFTA is US$ 345 billion
  • The estimated cost of aircrafts required as a result of AfCFTA is US$ 25 billion
  • The estimated cost of rail wagons required as a result of AfCFTA is US$36 billion
  • The estimated cost of vessels required as a result of AfCFTA is US$ 4 billion
  • Implementing AfCFTA and planned infrastructure projects would result in the need for 2,213,579 trucks, 169,339 rail wagons, 135 vessels and 243 aircraft
  • Rail currently transports just 0.3% of total intra-Africa freight. This increases to 6.8% with the implementation of AfCFTA
  • The estimated cost of equipment required by different transport modes to cope with AfCFTA is about U$411 billion
  • Investment opportunities in infrastructure development and fleet expansion vary across subregions for different modes of transport .

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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