AFCFTA:  A Voice For Tourism Transportation Summit  By Frank Meke

 

ITPN, President,Abiodun Odusanwo

 

In the past two decades, Nigeria has made spirited attempts to generate atmosphere conducive to   getting various aspects of the economy on the podium of local and International recognition and buy- in. It started with Federal and state governments trade fairs, and advanced to the international space, where our socioeconomic value chain, became subjects of economic interrogation by foreign investment experts and consumers.

Specialised exhibitions and Trade shows became more focal, considering the huge movement of investment circle globally, with investors, discreetly attracted by cheap but educated  manpower and a very vibrant consumer society.

One investment haven, untapped in Nigeria, is the Tourism and Transportation economy, clearly the boom sector, and unorganized. Abiodun Odusanwo, President Institute of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria ( ITPN), in the past four years, kicked started an economic revolution in this untapped area of the economy, systematically, connecting and building  a one shop village where transportation drives the growing influence of Nigerian tourism and hospitality.

Indeed, Mr. Abiodun Odusanwo, has taken the pains off the federal government and its Ministries in Aviation, Transportation, Information and Culture, Trade and investment, and factored a melting pot, where trade professionals and influencers in the logistics support economy, could meet with sectorial investors across the segmented tourism industry to define and appropriate a win win window.

There are no doubt the conviction of the inclusiveness of both transportation, logistics and security, the trend, occasioned by the painful advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which  has thrown more positive and inspiring opportunities for trading without and beyond borders.

To us in Nigeria, the responsiveness to the COVID-19 regulations, threw up an economy never seen in its full colours of reach and acceptance. The job opportunities imagined, left holes of addictive investment outreach, waiting for the most creative to take advantage.

A look at Odusanwo’ s federal government backed Summit on Tourism Transportation Connectivity and Partnership: leveraging on the three trillion dollars Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) Regime, opens up another chapter in Nigeria’s quest to penetrate the huge AFCFTA logistics and transportation economy geared towards driving and reawakening  intra African Tourism.

Significantly, we join the government, to call for an aggressive inclusiveness of other key sectors such as the regulatory Immigration and Customs, to join in the campaign to fully engage and interpret the huge African market to the benefit of Nigerian businesses and others across borders in Africa.

This all important Summit also bears the approval signature of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), must be developed and made to become the fulcrum and future trade post for related enterprises in tourism, which today, have shown capacity to foster greater strides and verifiable job opportunities in the industry more than ever before.

Its driving force is the connectivity of transportation and logistics, and creatively factoring security, indicative that Nigeria is bound to be the economy to watch despite the perceived dark clouds in the horizon of economic diversification.

Unknown to many people, the fear of Customs regulations across Africa, particularly in Nigeria, threatens this huge market, the air and ground logistics in particular, a process deserving expert solution at the Summit.

Technically, Tourism Transportation Summit, should be the ample venue for Nigerian Customs service, the immigration and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), to showcase and share their clinical attachment and revolutionary response to  economic stimulus beyond mere presence to show mandate architecture.

So where do this summit take place? If location matters in business development, the choice of Abuja, the seat of Nigerian government, amply provides delegates, sponsors and participants great opportunities to access and exploit the home grown logistics and hospitality offerings, generously on display in the Federal Capital Territory.

We can’t forget or take for granted, the interest of the leadership of the Federal Capital Territory,  which again tells of the most amazing and inspiring support to show case the often misunderstood economic revolutionary response of President Muhammadu Buhari government.

I will be in Abuja for the first time in four years eventful time out of the Abiodun Odusanwo led Institution of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria trade showpiece and no doubt, Nigeria and Africa logistics and trade professionals will have plenty intervention ideas to go away with.

Again, we commend the full and encouraging participation and support of federal government Ministries and agencies to ramp up the gains of AFCFTA regime. It is futuristic and defines the way to fully engage the private sector and financial institutions, to work back to back to creating a prosperous economy for us all beyond our bothers.

Take it to the bank, the Tourism Transportation Summit has come to bring the desired knowledge and marketing networking about the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement Regime and you can’t afford to miss the gathering of eminent Business men and trade regulatory agencies if you have eyes beyond Nigeria to move goods, services and people.

For two days, November 15 and 16, a new cross border transportation and logistics economy, will be fully unveiled, and tourism trade, clearly marked out.

 

  • Frank Meke, a Media and Tourism Consultant based in Lagos 

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