• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Meet African new female tourism ministers

How preservation of relics can grow Nigeria’s tourism, travel – Minister

As Africa rises, its tourism is rising too, especially now with women leading the way.

Excitedly, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe tourism industries have all welcomed new ministers of tourism to lead their countries’ respective sector recovery and drive.

Intriguingly, the three are all women.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has for the first time had a dedicated ministry of tourism with Lola Ade-John, a respected IT expert as the minister of the portfolio. Expectations are high for her to lead the renaissance of the industry and chart a new path for its tourism sector. It came weeks after the African giant secured a seat on UNWTO’s Executive Council and vice presidency of the Commission for Africa at the organization. Following the restoration of the Ministry of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, a banker and an IT expert, has been appointed the minister. Meanwhile, stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism industry have also commended the creation of a standalone Ministry of Tourism by President Bola Tinubu, while assuring that the development would reposition tourism and its overall impact on the nation’s gross domestic product.

Read also: Why Africa needs to invest in sustainable, inclusive tourism

Sierra Leone’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabeela F. Tunis has been appointed as the country’s new Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in President Julius Maada Bio’s new cabinet. She replaced Memunatu Pratt, who held the portfolio in the last cabinet. Nabeela F. Tunis has served as the country’s Foreign Minister since May 2019. Tunis has vast experience in development management, diplomacy, political analysis and governance, conflict prevention and mediation, gender analysis and mainstreaming, environmental governance and human rights issues.

Nabeela F_ Tunis

Tunis has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Fourah Bay College and English and a Master’s in Rural Development from Njala University, both part of the University of Sierra Leone. She worked as Program Manager of the Women’s Network for Environmental Sustainability and as a Senior National Officer within the United Nations office in Sierra Leone. Tunis was appointed the Minister of Planning and Economic Development on 8 May 2018. In this role, she helped produce the president’s National Economic Development Plan.

Read also: Intra-Africa travel, tourism business exchange on highlight at 6th ATLF

Also, Barbara Rwodzi, Zimbabwe’s former deputy minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament have been elevated to a substantive Minister of the reconfigured Minister of Tourism and Hospitality. Rwodzi was named in the new cabinet announced by President Emerson Mnangagwa on Monday, September 11, 2023, following his reelection last month. She will be supported by Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, as the Deputy Minister.

Barbara Rwodzi

Barbara Rwodzi is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur and politician. She was appointed Minister of Tourism in September 2023. From December 2021 to August 2023, she served as Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. As an entrepreneur, Rwodzi was the CEO of House of BarRue Knitwear – a successful business that exports handmade garments. She was part of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) where she had the opportunity to meet other businesswomen from Africa. During the exchange visit, she met American entrepreneurs, including designers like Diane von Furstenberg, as well as American business owners.