Citizens Development Corporation joins ATA as US-Africa seminar sponsor


WASHINGTON, DC – Citizens Development Corporation (CDC) is proud to join with the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in co-hosting a special networking reception on Thursday, February 19, 2009. The reception takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Ethiopian Embassy on 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008.

The event is being organized on the occasion of the Africa Travel Association’s 2nd Annual US-Africa Tourism Seminar from February 19-20, 2009, two days prior to the Adventures in Travel Expo at the Washington Convention Center. The two-day seminar aims to highlight Africa’s unique and diverse travel products, particularly in the areas of sports, adventure, and diaspora tourism, as well as investment and business opportunities in the travel industry. ATA expects more than 150 tourism stakeholders, mostly from the US and Africa, to attend the event.

“ATA is excited to begin a new and collaborative relationship with CDC,” said ATA executive director Edward Bergman. “By building partnerships with organizations in the public and non-profit sectors, as well as the private sector, we will all be better positioned to achieve our common goal of building a peaceful and stable continent.”

Since 1990, co-host CDC has leveraged public, private, and volunteer expert resources to create economic opportunities and drive economic growth by strengthening small-, medium-, and micro-size enterprises and the institutions, government agencies, and industries in emerging markets. A Washington, DC-based NGO, CDC (and its Tourism Development Corps subsidiary) frequently create strategies and implement programs that utilize the power of the tourism sector to foster entrepreneurial activity, enterprise development, and economic growth – capitalizing on the opportunities presented within and along the entire tourism value chain.

“CDC/TDC programs focus on the many and varied industries whose supply chains – from hotels, agribusiness and handicrafts manufacturing, and distribution; to construction, conservation, and education; to transportation and food services – contribute to the tourism and travel sector,” according to CDC president and chief operating officer Deirdre White.

“Tourism and travel is one of our four major practice areas because of its incredible role in creating economic opportunities and economic growth, often for individuals, businesses, and communities who otherwise would have few other significant chances to enhance their family’s wealth and well-being,” White added.

Each program is tailored to the specific needs of local communities, and TDC clients and can draw upon CDC’s nearly 20 years of delivering programs and services in some 50 countries on four continents. Among current CDC/TDC projects is a 2008 initiative linking communities and businesses in Nigeria’s Cross River State into the domestic tourism market and building the capacity of the Cross River State Tourism Board to maximize its support for its clients and the demand for tourism-related services in the state. The project, financed by the World Bank and Cross River State government, is also mapping the tourism value chain, assessing tourism assets, and providing innovative approaches to increasing both the number of arriving tourists and the dollars spent per footfall in Cross River State.

Among other CDC tourism and travel programs in Africa today, is one in Mali in which CDC – as a founding member of USAID’s Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) – is utilizing its MBA Enterprise Corps to develop and support sustainable tourism business development in the Pays Dogon region of the country. In Tanzania, CDC is maximizing the unique public-private partnership with IBM to provide technical assistance to the African Wildlife Foundation in order to develop business plans for several of its conservation units throughout the country and to provide technical assistance to the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators to enable it to better serve its constituency.

Although each tourism development program is tailored to the specific needs of local communities and TDC clients, our approach is built on a series of consistent tactics and actions:

– engages local stakeholders from a project’s outset;

– integrates locally-owned firms into the tourism value chain by providing training and technical assistance to develop the skills, expertise, and access to information they need to serve and be competitive in an increasingly global market;

– builds the capacity of tourism boards, business associations, and government agencies to support tourism-related firms;

– works with tour operators to develop new products and visitor-attracting services;

– works with financial institutions to develop loan and equity mechanisms for SMMEs and support those enterprises in accessing needed financing;

– introduces and emphasizes environmental and cultural priorities and mandates;

– targets peripheral tourism suppliers, for example small-holding farmers, to enable them to produce and sell quality produce, maximizing utilization of local products and labor and reducing negative environmental impacts; and,

– utilizes innovative technology to draw SMMEs into the tourism-value chain and facilitates linkages with multinational tour operators.