Catherine Abelema Afeku
Ghana has been nominated to host a maiden Africa Regional Congress on ‘Women in Tourism in 2019’. This followed a unanimous decision by 36 African Tourism Ministers at the just-ended 61st meeting of the Commission for Africa held in Abuja recently.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku, articulated Ghana’s position so well that she won the hearts of her colleagues from other parts of the continent.
Since she assumed the reins of the ministry, it is worth observing her rising status in the circles of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Ghana was proposed to host the congress by the chairman of the commission, Honourable Najib Balala, who is also Kenya’s Minister of Tourism and Wildlife.
The 2019 congress in Ghana constitutes a major phase in the world body’s Empowermentof Women in Tourism Programme (WITEP) and will be used to set a precedent for establishing tourism as a tool for tackling gender-based discrimination and facilitating women’s access to jobs and career advancement.
In her acceptance speech, Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, thanked her colleagues for “such a show of confidence in Ghana.”
In an interview with the press later, Mrs Afeku used representatives of Africa’s media to thank her colleagues for the honour bestowed on Ghana by selecting the country to host the 2019 Women in Tourism congress.
Mrs Afeku said Africa would use the congress to leverage tourism to bridge the gender gap in the region.
She asserted,“We know that when it comes to positions of authority especially in the hotel industry, women are currently at the lower rungs of the ladder. We ought to do something about this. It will take education, both academic and vocational, to put women where they naturally belong – at the top”
She paid homage to what she described as “the countless number of women out there who have blazed the trail in Africa as owners of accommodation and catering facilities and in the area of tour operation and ground handling. We will therefore use the congress as a platform to acknowledge the role of women in the development of the sector, both in the private and the public space.