African Ministers of Tourism Discuss Actions to Mitigate the Devastating Impacts of COVID-19 and Address Urgent Challenges in Tourism Sector

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 22, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The African Union Ministers responsible for Tourism held a meeting by Videoconference today 21st April 2020 on the invitation of H.E Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at African Union Commission.

The meeting was chaired by H.E. Joang Molapo, the Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Lesotho and chair of the Tourism Sub-Committee. The following members of the Bureau participated in the virtual meeting: H.E. Khaled al-Anany, Minister of Tourism, 1st Vice-president Arab Republic of Egypt H.E. Yves Bunkulu Zola, Minister of DRC, 2nd Vice-Chair and Representative of Hon Minister of Somalia in his capacity as 3rd Vice-Chair, Representative of Hon Minister of Tourism of Togo in his capacity as Rapporteur and H.E. Mmamuloko Kubayi, Minister of Tourism of South Africa in her capacity of the African Union Chairmanship. Also in attendance were H.E Najib Bala, Cabinet Secretary of Tourism of Kenya and H.E Ahmed Botto, Minister of Tourism of Niger.

The objective of this meeting was to discuss the urgent actions to support the continental strategy on COVID-19 pandemic as a way to implement the recommendations of the AU Heads of State and Government held on 3rd April 2020 by Video Conference. The second objective was to discuss the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the tourism sector, propose urgent mitigation measures and chart on way forward.

The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid expressed her gratitude to the Hon. Ministers for honouring the invitation and further highlighted the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 to African tourism including the important losses of jobs related to tourism services due to the grounding of aircrafts closure of airports and air transport related services, and complete shutdown of important public transport services. She appealed to the Hon.Ministers to propose relief measures to help the industry recover immediately once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained.

The bureau members underscored that the COVID-19 pandemic challenges offer an opportunity to our continent to deploy rapid, strong and lasting responses to create a strong African Tourism Industry post COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bureau strongly reaffirmed their resolution to set up immediately a high level Task Force comprised of both Public and private sector and reporting to the Bureau, with a mandate to propose appropriate measures that will help the African tourism industry to recover the devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministers responsible for Tourism thanked the African Union Commission and its partners for initiating this high-level dialogue of the Tourism industry and committed to support the on-going process to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in close collaboration with all the stakeholders.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the African Union Commission.

Note to the Editor
The Specialized Technical Committee (STC), is the Ministerial decision-making organ of the African Union for the transport, energy, and tourism sectors as well as overall infrastructure development matters. It was established with other similar sectorial organs initially as the Committee on Transport Energy and Communications under Article 25 of the African Economic Community Treaty (the Abuja Treaty) adopted by the Assembly of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) in 1994 and, subsequently, under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union adopted by the AU Assembly in 2000. It was finally reconfigured into the STC on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism in February 2009 by the AU Assembly through its decision: Assembly/AU/Dec.227 (XII).

Replacement of the sector specific Ministerial conferences with STCs, is aimed at fostering multi-sector dialogues and, hence, formulation of comprehensive development strategies for the concerned sectors. STCs are expected to provide a platform for all stakeholders including the private sector and academia to share knowledge, experiences and solutions to common challenges in the development of the concerned sectors. In accordance with its Rules of Procedure, the STC meets biennially (once every two years). Institutional arrangement of the STC, its Sub-Committees and working groups enables all stakeholders to be adequately informed and involved in the implementation and reporting mechanisms of the STC Plans of Action.
The first meeting of the STC took place from 13 to 17 March 2017 in Lomé, Togo under the generous hosting of the Government of the Togolese Republic. The first session of the STC-TTIIET rallied around the theme: Financing Infrastructure in Africa.

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