First was the demise of Thomas Cook, a company which traces its origin to 1841, leaving scores of travellers stranded. The second one was trouble at 10 Downing Street, ruffling Boris Johnson’s hair even more over that perennial British pastime, Brexit. The third was the ongoing border tiff between west Africa’s David and Goliath: Benin and Nigeria.
All these events are made relevant and interlinked by the latest fad: the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Ratified in July, AfCFTA is not a fad, but given Africa’s history of great policies and poor implementation, it might as well be.
When it came into effect, one thing was clear: there would be a single African market of more than 1.2 billion people to which African countries would be able to sell their wares without needless barriers. Every intra-country indicator is pointing upwards, meaning that if African countries could unearth immeasurable trade and investment revenue by doing business with each other.
Travel and tourism contributed 8.5% of Africa’s gross domestic product in 2018, equivalent to $194.2 billion (R2.9 trillion), according to the 2019 Jumia Hospitality Report. This places Africa second only to Asia in the high growth stakes of world tourism trends; expanding 5.6% against the global average of 3.9%.