Accelerating Entrepreneurship and Innovation For Sustainable Tourism In Africa Through A Co-Created Youth-Centered Ecosystem

Portia Pearl Siyanda Sifolo, David Chiawo, Marina Novelli, Kobby Mensah, Judy Kepher-Gona, Job Odhiambo, George Tsekouras, Aline Figlioli, Daniel Adidwa, Sarah Muigai, Festus Mburu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


The tourism industry is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy and is expected to grow by 4.2 percent per annum to US$278 billion by 2028, creating over 235 million jobs globally. In Africa, tourism export revenues have risen three-fold and has a unique potential to create over 12 million jobs by 2028. Despite the opportunities offered by the tourism sector to create jobs for the youth in Africa, highly skilled tourism graduates are still disadvantaged in securing employment in an industry that appears to prefer less skilled workforce. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there is a need to expand entrepreneurship opportunities in tourism by creating innovative ecosystems and networks as a remedy to address highly skilled youth unemployment and underemployment in the region. The purpose of this chapter is to share critical reflections on the co-creation process and practices of a British Council - Innovation for African Universities (IAU036) programme, aimed at accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation for sustainable tourism in Africa that led to the formation of a youth-centered ecosystem for sustainable tourism development SSA. Framed by Indigenous Knowledge and Open Innovation (OI) thinking, the project employed a hybrid methodology drawing Systems upon the Rapid Situation Analysis (RSA) and the Peer-to-Peer co-constructed and participatory research techniques, involving 45 tourism bachelors students registered in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and critical knowledge exchanges between partners from Kenya, Ghana, and the UK. While the research identified key challenges and opportunities associated with entrepreneurship in tourism in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, a co-created youth-centered ecosystem was the main outcome of the active engagement of tourism, innovation and entrepreneurship researchers and industry players, offering knowledge exchange, mentorship and coaching. The project led to new critical understandings of the complexity of operating in a challenging SSA tourism business environment. An ad hoc tourism curriculum review, a training toolkit and the establishment of a digitally interconnected Sustainable Tourism Innovation Hubs and wider industry network are proposed as possible way forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrengthening University Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Sub-Saharan Africa
EditorsSam Kamuriwo, Mary Kinoti, Sara Jones, Neil Marshall
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Mar 2023

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