Africa isn’t poor
TOURISM can be harnessed, in tandem with Africa’s wealth of natural resources, to make poverty history, according to a new United Nations report.
The Africa Environment Outlook 2, released by the UN Environment Programme (Unep) in June, takes a comprehensive look at the potential, problems and long-term scenarios facing Africa's development and environment.
“The report challenges the myth that Africa is poor,” Achim Steiner, Unep executive director, said at the launch of document.
"Indeed, it points out that its vast natural wealth can, if sensitively, sustainably and creatively managed, be the basis for an African renaissance - a renaissance that meets and goes beyond the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.”
From freshwaters to forests, minerals and the marine environment, Africa is only realising a fraction of its nature-based economic potential, the AEO-2 says.
Tourism based on nature and cultural sites, for one, presents a huge but untapped opportunity. "Africa has numerous tourist attractions, yet it contributes only 4% annually to the multibillion-dollar global tourism industry," the report says.
The report points out that Africa is a mining giant, producing nearly 80 per cent of the world's platinum and over 40 per cent of its diamonds.