KLEBER Group x ReThinking Africa News

March 2024


  • Foreword
  • Investment in Africa’s tourism industry as a driver for sustainable development
  • African airlines report highest growth worldwide
  • Need for investment in African tourism
  • Tourism as a catalyst for sustainable development in Africa
  • Current headlines
  • Tourism events


The second issue of the ReThinking Africa Foundation GmbH newsletter heralds the arrival of spring and is dedicated to the topic of tourism in Africa and its immense potential as a driver of sustainable development. Africa, with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources, is a place of longing for travelers seeking untouched nature, cultural diversity and wildlife encounters. Despite the pandemic, we have seen a steady increase in tourist arrivals to African destinations for years.

Tourism has proven to be a dynamic sector capable of driving inclusive growth and sustainable development across the continent. By investing in tourism infrastructure and promoting local entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry, African nations have the potential to open up new avenues of prosperity.

Crucially, tourism can create jobs, especially in rural areas where employment opportunities are limited. From lodges in remote wilderness areas to guided tours by local experts, tour companies can directly support local communities by creating livelihoods and preserving traditional ways of life.
In addition, tourism provides a platform for youth empowerment. With Africa’s young population as a demographic dividend, investing in education and training programs in tourism can give young people the tools they need to succeed in the industry and contribute to the economic upliftment of their communities.

With this in mind, the Rethinking Africa Foundation recently brought together tourism ministers from different African countries in a panel discussion at the world’s largest travel trade show ITB in Berlin to highlight the potential of Africa’s travel sector based on strategic investment. Cooperation between the authorities and the private sector is key to creating the right framework conditions for growth in the sector.

With the ReThinking Africa Foundation, we want to act as a bridge builder and bring European investors together with African partners. Interested companies and investors are cordially invited to get in touch with us regarding possible projects. Please feel free to share this newsletter with other interested parties.

Yours sincerely,

Hanna Kleber

Member of the Advisory Board


About Hanna Kleber:

Hanna Kleber has been at home in tourism for many decades. She is the founder and managing director of the Frankfurt PR agency KLEBER GROUP, which represents international destinations and tourism providers in the DACH market. As the initiator of Voice4Africa, she is particularly committed to tourism development in Africa. She is co-founder of the ReThinking Africa Foundation, where she is active as a contact person for tourism investments on the African continent.


Investing in Africa’s tourism industry as a driver for sustainable development

A contribution by Hanna Kleber

Travel and tourism offer diverse prospects for economic growth, sustainable development and intercultural cooperation. Tourism is a major sector in Africa, contributing more than USD 186 billion to the region’s economy in 2019 and welcoming 84 million international travelers to the African continent, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The travel industry is also crucial for employment, providing a livelihood for 25 million people, which represents 5.6 percent of all jobs on the continent. The growth potential for tourism in Africa is enormous. It has already more than doubled since 2000 and could generate an additional 168 billion US dollars and create over 18 million new jobs in the next decade.

African airlines report highest growth worldwide – revenue from tourism continues to rise

According to the latest figures from UN Tourism, Africa’s tourism industry is recovering faster than other regions. Tourist arrivals in the period from January to September 2023 were only 8 percent lower than in 2019. Alongside the Middle East and Europe, Africa is experiencing the biggest upswing. North and East African destinations are leading the upward trend, reaching over 103% and 102% of their pre-pandemic 2019 levels in 2023.

African airline traffic increased by 38.7% year-on-year in 2023, ahead of Latin American, North American and European airlines. Some of Africa’s largest airlines, including Ethiopean Airlines, Egypt Air and TAAG Angola Airlines, have already made headlines this year with large aircraft orders. Other airlines have recently received new aircraft from orders placed in recent years.

The data platform Statista estimates that turnover in the African tourism market will reach 24.42 billion US dollars this year. Turnover is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.98%, resulting in a forecast market volume of USD 29.66 billion by 2028. The hotel segment has the largest share of the tourism market with an estimated market volume of USD 12.10 billion in 2024.
„The increasing number of visitors, especially in safari destinations, requires an expansion of the tourism infrastructure in order to meet demand and create sustainable jobs for the local population,“ explains Hanna Kleber, initiator of Voice4Africa and co-founder of the business initiative ReThinking Africa, which campaigns for investment in Africa’s tourism industry.

Investment needs in African tourism

Strategic plans to promote the tourism sector are already in place in many countries on the African continent and targeted incentives for local and international investment are being created. Both the African Union and regional communities have tourism as a priority on their agenda. One example of this is the Tourism Action Plan (TAP) supported by the African Union.

The TAP aims to establish Africa as a leading travel destination in the 21st century and recognizes tourism development as a key sector strategy across Africa. The 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have introduced a visa policy that enables the free movement of people between member states and offers international travelers and investors a larger market to build profitable partnerships.

Several measures are required to strengthen intra-African investment in the tourism sector. The sustainable expansion of tourism infrastructure is of central importance. This includes hotels, resorts, transportation services as well as digital and fintech solutions.

In addition, the development of energy infrastructure is essential to ensure a reliable and sustainable energy supply for tourism facilities. Furthermore, cooperation with the agricultural sector should be promoted in order to expand regional and transnational trade relations and strengthen local communities. Investments in education provide qualified personnel.

Supra-regional tourism initiatives can help to promote cross-border marketing, attract regional and international tourists and build profitable partnerships.

Tourism as a catalyst for sustainable development in Africa

The African tourism sector plays an important role in achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) considers sustainable tourism to be an important instrument of development policy.

The travel industry can create employment opportunities for women and young people, especially in rural areas, generate new sources of income for the local population and reduce poverty. Tourism promotes innovation in infrastructure development, transportation and technology and has a positive impact on economic and social development.

Sustainable tourism practices contribute to the protection of marine and terrestrial ecosystems by driving conservation efforts and promoting responsible wildlife tourism. To maximize the positive impact of tourism in Africa, it is important to develop sustainable tourism practices that take into account economic as well as social and environmental factors.

Current Headlines

Unleashing economic potential: The AfCFTA free trade agreement and the future of tourism in South Africa

The Africa Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) opens up tremendous opportunities for local and global businesses to enter and expand into new markets on the continent. Designed as a catalyst for growth, the AfCFTA holds tremendous opportunities for the South African tourism sector. However, the complexity of its implementation has presented challenges and delayed the potential benefits, says Lee-Anne Bac, Director at BDO South Africa.

Africa’s booming hospitality industry will reach a volume of 731.4 billion dollars by 2032

Demand for innovative hospitality solutions is booming as Africa’s travel and tourism sector is fueled by a growing middle class and a projected CAGR of 8.9% or $731.4 billion by 2032 in the bleisure market. A recent Africa Outlook report predicts that Africa will be the second fastest growing tourism region in the world by 2024, driven by a resurgence in travel and investment. To meet this demand, Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa, in its 7th edition, will bring together hospitality buyers with a wide range of global suppliers and brands.

Rwanda is the „place to be“ in East Africa

Rwanda is the new health hub in East Africa. Biontech is currently building a vaccine factory there for the African continent. Why Rwanda in particular? The country is highly organized, the capital Kigali boasts clean streets, and due to the altitude, even the climate is more reminiscent of Europe than Africa. Rwanda also sounds very progressive: there are more women than men in parliament and plastic bags have been banned since 2008. The country of 13 million inhabitants is the „place to be“ in East Africa.


ReThinking Africa at ITB

At this year’s ITB, our Managing Director Dr. Holger Bingmann, together with our partner Hanna Kleber, moderated a panel with the Tourism Ministers of Zimbabwe and Zambia as well as the Ambassador of Ethiopia to discuss the significant potential of the African tourism sector in conjunction with the transformative impact of targeted investments.

The panelists spoke about strategic methods to promote sustainable development, taking into account environmental, cultural and economic factors. While the focus is on promoting economic growth, it is imperative to preserve the biodiversity and socio-cultural heritage of African destinations.

The entire panel can be viewed here.


First reception of the ReThinking Africa Foundationn

The ReThinking Africa Foundation, under the leadership of Dr. Holger Bingmann, Hanna Kleber and Oliver Alexander, hosted a very successful reception on 28.02.24, bringing together German entrepreneurs with ambassadors from selected African countries to promote concrete B2B business projects between African and German companies.

We are grateful for the participation of ambassadors from Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Togo, Mauritius, Egypt and Senegal.

About Voice4Africa

VOICE4AFRICA is an initiative of the KLEBER GROUP, a full-service PR agency with a special focus on tourism and many years of expertise in Africa. Together with African tour operators, the initiative promotes responsible tourism to Africa as a means of international understanding and a driver for sustainable development. Voice4Africa is the winner of the Corps Touristique Award for International Understanding 2023.

Press contact:

Hanna Kleber and Julia Kleber | Management
Friederike Galuschky | Senior Consultant Communications

Hamburger Allee 45
60486 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 (69) 71 91 36 0
E-mail: hanna.kleber@klebergroup.com and julia.kleber@klebergroup.com / friederike.galuschky@klebergroup.com

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