By Nesia Mhaka, The Herald
President Mnangagwa will join other dignitaries from various countries and organisations at Africa’s Wildlife Economy summit in Victoria Falls next week, to discuss ideas on the conservation of Africa’s natural environment.
The conference is sponsored by the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN).
The summit will be held under the theme “Communities for Conservation, Harnessing Conservation Tourism, and Supporting Governments”.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira told The Herald yesterday that the summit will go a long way in selling Zimbabwe as a viable tourism destination, with the importance of deliberations at the event which will be underpinned by the presence of President Mnangagwa and potentially other heads of state.
“His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was a key speaker at the recent Kasane Elephant Summit in Botswana, will be among the Heads of State gracing the Victoria Falls summit,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira said the summit will draw participants from over 30 countries and close to 500 delegates across the world are expected to attend.
“Heads of State and Cabinet ministers from at least 30 African countries have registered to take part in the inaugural of AU and UN Wildlife Economy Summit to be held in Victoria Falls from 23-25 June,” she said.
“Close to 500 delegates from across the world are expected to descend on the resort town of Victoria Falls for the summit which will provide a platform to share strategies on leveraging wildlife resources to turn around African economies.”
Minister Mupfumira said the holding of the summit was opportune, given the country and some of its neighbours’ vast elephant population, since Zimbabwe has the second highest elephant population in the world.
“We are looking forward to having a successful conference and as you know Zimbabwe is in the KAZA (Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) region and as you’re aware KAZA boasts of having over 60 percent of the world’s elephant population,” she said.
Minister Mupfumira said conference discussions will cover issues that range from Africa’s wildlife economy to the problems brought about by human and wildlife conflict.
“The summit is most opportune to reflect on this important species, as well as recalibrate strategies to ensure that appropriate benefits accrue to nations and respective communities,” she said.
“There are issues that we need to discuss about the economies, how wildlife affects ordinary people and how we can manage human and wildlife conflict and ensure coexistence.”
Minister Mupfumira said the conference will focus on how African countries can leverage on wildlife resources to turnaround their economies through sustainable wildlife conservation.
“We will discuss how wildlife impacts the ordinary people, how we can manage human-wildlife conflict,” she said.
“At that summit in Botswana, President Mnangagwa called on the international community to enable nations to trade and better benefit from their natural endowments, so that they may help to eradicate poverty, empower our citizens and improve the quality of life for rural communities.
“We want to come up with resolutions which will be good for conservation, looking after our wildlife and also making sure that people living with wildlife also benefit and their livelihoods will be improved.
“So these are some of the issues that we’re going to discuss.”