Africa: Excitement as 13th Akwaaba opens in grand style
The director general of the National Council of Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe cutting the tape to declare the 13th Akwaaba African Market open at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos
The 13th edition of the Akwaaba African Travel Market opened on Sunday, September 10 in Lagos at the Eko Hotel and Suites with a colourful opening ceremony attended by stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry in West Africa.
The event opened with an exciting Jollof rice contest between chefs from Nigeria and Ghana who slugged it out to determine the country that cooks the best Jollof rice in West Africa.
Speaking at the event, the director general of the National Council of Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe applauded the organisers of Akwaaba for building and sustaining a big brand in Africa.
While calling for support for the Akwaaba Travel show, Runsewe stressed the need for travel an tourism stakeholders to tap into the event.
He stated that Nigeria will soon give oil a break as culture will now become the country’s new oil.
Runsewe disclosed that the NCAC, will be taking the country’s culture commissioners to Dubai to understudy how the country was able to reposition their culture as foreign exchange earner.
Speaking also, the permanent secretary, Lagos state ministry of tourism, Mr. Ashimi Jamiu Adewale, stated that Lagos state government in investing a lot in the area of tourism, environment and improvement of infrastructure to promote the growth of tourism in the state.
Mr Jamiu said the strategy is aimed at promotion which is why the state is also participating in the Akwaaba African Travel Market.
The permanent secretary, Lagos state ministry of tourism explained that the proposed city tour of Lagos is aimed at showing the beauty of Lagos and to take gusts to places of interest which they do not know exist in Lagos.
In his opening remarks, the organiser of the event, Ikechi Uko said the need to create something in Africa informed the decision to start Akwaaba African Travel Market.
Uko explained that Akwaaba that started 13 years ago with only six exhibitors is the only travel travel event that is solely private sector driven and without hosted buyers.
He commended Lagos state government for staging a come back at Akwaaba after a long absence.
Uko said that Lagos state will be taking the guests and others visitors at the event on a city tour of Lagos to show them places of interest in the state on Wednesday after the Akwaaba event on Tuesday.
He said the jollof contest is not actually a competition, but to create something unique in the food eaten and prepared differently in West Africa.
He said that there are 25 versions of jollof rice in West Africa.
Uko said for the Jollof contest, nine of the chefs came from Ghana while 17 are from Nigeria.
The event featured beautiful dance steps from the energetic Rwandan dancers who added glitz and glamour to the event.
The beautiful Calabar carnival queens who are expected to perform on Monday added beauty to the event with the beautiful costumes and the Jollof contest where the judges who are not from both Nigeria and Ghana went round to taste the rice from the chefs from the two countries.
Though the organiser said the Jollof contest is not a competition, but guests and others at the event are eagerly awaiting for the result of the contest.