Editor’s Note: January 11, 2019

Is tourism in Africa about to boom?

It’s a good time for tourism in Africa. According to the most recent available data from the World Tourism Organization the continent saw international arrivals grow by 8.6% in 2017, the biggest increase globally. This amounted to 62.7m visitors and $37.3bn in receipts.

While encouraging the numbers are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Africa accounts for just 5% and 2.7% of global arrivals and receipts respectively, with the sector constrained by a myriad of issues ranging from poor infrastructure and regulation to a lack of connectivity.

This may be about to change.

Kenya has just reported record international arrivals of more than 2m in 2018, registering a 31.2% and 37% increase in earnings and arrivals respectively.

The spike reflects subtle but important trends in the industry.

One of these is improved air connectivity, a major bottleneck. While still fragmented Africa’s airspace is being better served as international and regional carriers beef up their networks. Countries are also taking steps to ease visa restrictions.

This is helping the continent tap into growing international demand, especially from China, with global hotel chains scrambling to expand across the continent.

If Kenya’s numbers are anything to go by the sector could be about to boom.

From The Continent

The former head of Ethiopia’s military-run industrial conglomerate METEC has been charged with corruption, two months after being arrested in a crackdown on the company under reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed. METEC has been accused of corruption in procurement contracts totalling $2bn More: Reuters


Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell 3.4% in December to 12%, the biggest decrease in over a decade. This is down from a three-decades high of 30.9% in March 2017 following the floating of its currency, part of an IMF-backed reform program. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Stat

$150,000

The amount of money three people, including a relative, have been accused of stealing from former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. More: BBC

The Global Perspective

Japan’s Bank for International Cooperation and trading firm Toyota Tsusho are reportedly partnering to raise $643m from public and private lenders to fund a port project in Angola.This is the largest project of its kind ever for Japanese business in Africa, reflecting efforts by Tokyo to challenge China’s dominance in funding infrastructure on the continent. More: Nikkei Asian Review

France and Belgium have challenged the outcome of Congo’s contentious presidential election, in which opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi  has been declared the winner, following claims of rigging by another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu. France’s foreign minister has said the result is ‘not consistent’ with evidence suggesting Fayulu was the actual winner. More: Al Jazeera

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