The World Bank released a new report indicating that Africa’s tourism industry has created economic growth for the continent and the sector will employ 6.7 million people by 2021.

The report—Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods—states that tourism accounted directly or indirectly for one in every 20 jobs in Africa since 2011 and that it’s one of the few industries on the continent which women are well represented not only as employees but as managers.

The paper suggests that with political support and an increased private investments 33 countries have the potential to create a sustainable tourist sector.

It lists countries who have thriving tourism industries. It cites Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and others who have ‘simplified their tourism policies, liberalized air transport and diversified tourism while protecting their communities and environments, which created a positive investment climate for tourism development’.

“Africa’s private companies are increasingly attracting regional and international investment and the returns on investing in Africa are among the highest in the world,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.”In close alliance with the private sector, governments must also do their part to create better transport, electricity, infrastructure, and other key services to develop tourism for more broad-based growth and improved livelihoods.”

In 2012, Africa attracted 33.8 million visitors, up from a low 6.7 million visitors in 1990, and its receipts from tourism for the same year amounted to over US$36 billion, or 2.8 percent of the region’s GDP.

In 2011, global tourism contributed 9.1 percent to world GDP, 5.9 percent of worldwide exports and 4.5 percent of global investment.

Source: The World Bank Group