Carmen Nibigira flies the flag for success on International Women’s Day

Date: March 10, 2018

There’s few better examples of successful international women than Carmen Nibigira, Project Director at Horwath HTL Rwanda, who was recently called on to advise the UN on East African economics.

Carmen, who has previously headed the East Africa Tourism Platform, founded the Akilah Institute for Women – the first ever higher education institute for women in the region, appeared at a conference organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on the burgeoning tourism industry. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts conference, which took place in Moroni, Comoros, featured a key note speech from Carmen about the “untapped potential” of domestic tourism.

As part of this, she advised a panel of experts and industry leaders from across the continent, including chief economist at the National Bank of Rwanda Thomas Kigabo and Endalkachew Sime, Secretary General of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, on a range of solutions to the region’s difficulty in generating income from tourism.

As a policy maker, I would encourage open skies and economies of scale,” said Carmen, who completed an MA in Tourism Destination Management at UCB before continuing to a PhD at Clemson University in America. “We can all do better – we need to dream big and have visionary leadership to take us to the next level.

Burundi-born Carmen’s speech centred on a detailed set of recommendations to the board emphasising the importance of focusing on domestic tourism over encouraging costly tourism campaigns in the UK and the US for very little return. Describing tourism as the “new gold” of Eastern Africa, Carmen told the committee that a culture of travel and discovery must be cultivated from within the region in order to keep maintain the tourism industry’s economic benefits.

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