The African Development Bank ( has reiterated its support to Africa’s tourism sector, seen as one of the continent’s fastest growing areas.

Speaking at the 66th Tourism Conference organized by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Mauritius in July 2023, Leila Mokaddem, Director General for the Southern Africa Regional Integration and Business Delivery Hub, said the Bank would prioritise support for member countries to develop their tourism industry and other pathways to sustainable, climate-smart local economic development.

The conference, hosted by the Mauritius government, was held under the theme “Rethinking Tourism for Africa: Promoting Investment and Partnerships; Addressing Global Challenges”.

“Tourism is one of the fastest growing and most interconnected sectors in the global economy with vast potential to boost GDP and investment, spur regional integration. Mauritius is a success story in that regard,” Mokaddem said.

The conference brought together African tourism ministers and key tourism stakeholders from the sector to discuss the development of tourism in Africa. The annual gathering offers a platform where both public and private sector industry partners come together to exchange ideas. The conference explored innovative ways to promote investment, partnerships and sustainable growth in the African tourism sector. 

The Bank has identified the tourism sector as a priority sector in its strategy to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and green growth. In this regard, it is working in close cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the specialized agency in charge of promoting tourism with a network from its membership of 158 countries.

The Bank and UNWTO have agreed to strengthen their cooperation and to establish a working arrangement through  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), guided by the UN  Sustainable Development Goals, African Union Agenda 2063 and Rio+20 development goals and objectives. This aligns with the Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy and its High 5 priorities to industrialize Africa and to improve the quality of life of Africans, through creating enabling conditions for decent jobs for youth.

Both parties agree that joint efforts will boost the tourism sector and help fill the gaps in the areas of advocacy, policy and analytical advice.

Discussions to finalize signing of the MoU are ongoing.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Communication and External Relations Department