In 2019, pre-pandemic tourism contributed 7% of Africa’s GDP and employed 21 million Africans, amounting to around 1 in 14 jobs across the continent. Research in major African nations like Kenya, Ghana and South Africa has shown that, while the majority of the tourism workforce are young people, only 40% of young people of working age across Sub Saharan Africa are in any form of paid employment - with young women the most affected.
This University of Brighton-led project has brought together key experts from the partnering institutions to facilitate peer-to-peer knowledge exchange working with 45 tourism students - 15 from Kenya, 15 from Ghana and 15 from South Africa – as well as academic and industry coaches in tourism entrepreneurship.
The University of Brighton devised the INSPIRE programme for the students through its Centre for Change, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management (CENTRIM) within its School of Business and Law, providing them with workshops, masterclasses, and one-to-one mentorship sessions to support participants in developing novel local sustainable tourism business ideas.
“By bringing together universities from the UK and sub-Saharan Africa with organisations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, we can facilitate an exchange of learning, ideas, knowledge and connections to enable universities to become key champions for innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Moses Anibaba, the British Council’s Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa.
Feedback from participants in the programme has been overwhelmingly positive. One student from South Africa said: “I have been able to come up with an innovative idea that will not only be beneficial for me but will help communities grow and create generational wealth.”
Another from Kenya said: “I have been able to learn how to create a business out of an idea and get help from people rather than just relying on myself. I have met potential partners who are free to share their experiences in the industry”. A student from Ghana added: “I have developed a great business idea, and am seeing a positive future ahead”.
Other students highlighted the benefits of obtaining certified professional industry training, meeting high profile tourism experts and potential business partners, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange with other young entrepreneurs, and the importance of comprehending market needs.