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IFC, Tourism Ethiopia Sign Agreement to Improve Ethiopia’s Tourism Sector Competitiveness

Addis Ababa, March 05, 2019 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signs cooperation agreement with Tourism Ethiopia to provide advisory support in a bid to improve the economic performance of the tourism sector in Ethiopia.
The agreement was signed today at IFC’s Ethiopia country office between Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s Eastern Africa Regional Director; and Lensa Mekonnen, CEO of Tourism Ethiopia.  
The cooperation agreement provides framework for advisory support to be implemented in a three-year program in partnership with Tourism Ethiopia and other public and private sector stakeholders.
The program is structured in three pillars namely: improving competitiveness of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) tourism, enhancing the competitiveness of Stopover Tourism, and institutional strengthening for improved and data-driven sector management.
Implementation of the program will focus on robust data collection and empirical analysis on the relevant tourism segments, introducing global practices for benchmarking, capacity building, alleviating  investment constraints, and consultative dialogues with sector stakeholders.
“We appreciate IFC’s advisory support that will tackle significant bottlenecks in the tourism sector, especially in MICE and Stopover tourism. This partnership coincides with Ethiopia’s momentum of reform while the focus areas of the program align with government of Ethiopia’s priorities,” Lensa said on her part.
“Given its world-class natural, cultural, and historical assets, excellent opportunities for adventure tourism, and high performing airline, Ethiopia should be doing much better than it is as a tourism destination,” Jumoke said during the signing ceremony.
Ethiopia’s strategic location and the fact that Addis Ababa is hosting a number of diplomatic missions and international agencies offer competitive advantage in this sector. Business tourism, stopover tourism, and particularly MICE tourism are opportunities that can lead to relatively quicker impact.
However, the country’s tourism market share in Africa remains limited, and the average expenditure per arrival is relatively very low and unevenly spread through the country. Ethiopia also lags behind regional peers in the MICE market, ranked globally 89th with 12 meetings, as compared to South Africa (125 meetings), Morocco (37 meetings) and Egypt, Kenya and Rwanda (each with18 meetings) in 2016.. Similarly, Ethiopia has not yet capitalized its Stopover Tourism potentials. Though some 10 million passengers pass through Bole international Airport every year, most (about 90%) do not go outside of the airport.
The recently announced visa reform is expected to positively impact the tourism sector and similar bold reforms are expected to fully unlock the industry potential .    
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit .
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