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Every time I travel to Africa, I can feel the desire of the people to get ahead in life. Africans are ambitious, they’re entrepreneurial and they want to grow and learn.

Amadeus Africa wants to be part of this refreshing can-do attitude. For 2017, our main drive is to provide our travel agency customers in Africa with the technology they need to increase their revenue and to save money.

Amadeus’ technology will primarily help travel agencies increase their efficiency by giving them a wider reach and by incorporating new technologies such as mobile e-commerce.

Our latest booking platform, Selling Platform Connect, for example, allows travel agents to service their customers from anywhere and at any time. They don’t need to be sitting at their desk in their office; they can access this professional platform from their mobile, tablet or laptop.

Amadeus Africa

At Amadeus, we strongly believe in the potential of Africa, and we will continue investing in the content in 2017. Of course, there are some challenges in Africa, but at the same time, there are many opportunities in the year ahead to overcome these challenges.

My wish for 2017 is to see some of the political and economic situations in Africa alleviated. The economic downturn in Nigeria as Africa’s biggest economy, for example, has had quite an impact on the continent’s travel industry overall. I would love to see these problems resolved in 2017.

Visas also remain a challenge and can be an important obstacle for travel. It’s encouraging to see some positive developments with certain regions introducing uni-visas and even the possibility of an African passport on the horizon. I would love to see a more flexible visa regime across Africa, which would allow people to move more freely within the continent.

Africa is still facing challenges in terms of airport infrastructure and interconnectivity between countries. High taxes are often still imposed on airlines, driving up their operating costs and making it difficult for them to operate efficiently.

We should remember that airlines are the skeleton of the economic systems between countries. Without good air connections, it’s very difficult for different economies to develop at the same rate. That will be critical for the future of Africa.

Of course, reaching an Open Skies agreement would tremendously boost travel within the continent. Ethiopian Airlines, for example, connects well across Africa, but still needs to re-route travellers through their hub in Addis Ababa. If successful carriers like Ethiopian Airlines could operate routes which aren’t via their hub, this would help the economies in Africa grow and develop.

More than 70% of the one billion people living in Africa are currently under 25, and will want to start travelling within Africa soon. They will need to have access to affordable travel options, and this offers a huge opportunity for the entire travel industry in Africa for 2017 and beyond.