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UN urges African governments to ease travel to boost economy

Staff Writer |
The United Nations said in a new report that African governments should make it easier and safer for Africans to travel within the continent.

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"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, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The agency's "Economic Development in Africa Report 2017" focuses on tourism for transformative and inclusive growth.

Chantal Line Carpentier, chief of UNCTAD's New York office, said tourism export revenues tripled since 1998, from $14 billion to nearly $7 billion.

Tourism now contributes to about 8.5 percent of the continent's gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 6.8 percent in 1998.

"African tourism is increasingly driven by Africans themselves due to a growing middle-income class," Carpentier told a press conference at UN Headquarters, adding that four out of 10 international tourists in Africa are from the continent itself.

"By 2026, tourism's direct contribution to GDP is forecast to surpass $121 billion," she noted.

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