Mzembi on course for UNWTO top job

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Free­dom Mu­panedemo

NEXT month the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil of the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion meets in Egypt to re­ceive nom­i­na­tions for can­di­dates to re­place out­go­ing sec­re­tarygen­eral Dr Taleb Ri­fai.

So far, Zim­babwe’s Min­is­ter of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try, Dr Wal­ter Mzembi, is the only one who has openly shown in­ter­est and by the end of the nom­i­na­tion court, the world will know the other can­di­dates, if any.

The UNWTO is an or­gan of the United Na­tions re­spon­si­ble for tourism, just like the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion is re­spon­si­ble for health, and has never been run by an African, since its in­cep­tion in 1975.

But Africa has shown its in­ten­tion for the post for the first time since its in­cep­tion in 1975 by wag­ing a united front and sound­ing their col­lec­tive in­ter­est by en­dors­ing one can­di­date, Dr Wal­ter Mzembi.

Much to Dr Mzembi’s (AU) unan­i­mously can­di­da­ture at its last month and with in the UNWTO it means Dr Mzembi have bagged 10

If Dr Mzembi his way to the helm boost, the African Union en­dorsed his sum­mit in Rwanda 10 African coun­tries ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil, might al­ready votes. even­tu­ally finds of the UNWTO, Africa would have in­deed scored a first.

A clear sig­nal on how the bloc has come of age, forg­ing a united front in search of a voice not only on how the world’s tourism ma­trix should be shaped but also other driv­ers of the econ­omy like pol­i­tics, in­dus­try and trade.

Yes, Dr Mzembi has so far run part of this long race to the UNWTO be­cause it was through hard work, cou­pled with a great deal of lob­by­ing that led to his nom­i­na­tion first by his gov­ern­ment, SADC and then the AU. This did not come on a sil­ver plat­ter. With the AU bless­ings, Dr Mzembi has em­barked on a world­wide cam­paign for the top job and up to date, there has not been any sharpish re­ac­tions to his cam­paign from other con­ti­nents.

Re­cently, Dr Mzembi took his cam­paign to Egypt where he re­ceived a ma­jor boost to his cause af­ter the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment reaf­firmed their full sup­port of his can­di­da­ture to the top post.

The idea by Dr Mzembi to start his long jour­ney to Madrid, Spain (the head­quar­ters of the UNWTO), by vis­it­ing Egypt was strate­gi­cally on point, as Egypt has greater stran­gle­hold on the largely Arab world in the Mid­dle East.

As it stands, the odds are highly weigh­ing in favour of Dr Mzembi be­cause no other con­ti­nent has so far dared to openly de­clare its in­ter­ests to throw in a can­di­date to chal­lenge Dr Mzembi.

Not even China, which is host to the May 2017 UNWTO gen­eral as­sem­bly where the sec­re­tary gen­eral post is up for grabs.

This means Dr Mzembi and in­deed Africa has a chance with only ghostly con­tenders in the ring.

As we count down to the nom­i­na­tion date in weeks to come, Africa is hold­ing its breath as it waits to know which re­gion will fi­nally throw in the hat into the ring for a chal­lenge to Dr Mzembi.

So a united Africa no doubt is likely to con­quer the world and Dr Mzembi presents the best chance for Africa to have a voice.

In Dr Mzembi, we have the best can­di­date for the UNWTO not only in the African eye but even in the broader sense. THE coun­try’s big­gest shoe man­u­fac­turer, Bata Shoe Com­pany, has in­jected $500 000 in fresh cap­i­tal di­rected at ramp­ing up pro­duc­tion of Pata Pata and San­dak lines among its new prod­ucts on the mar­ket.

The devel­op­ment will see the com­pany ramp­ing up pro­duc­tion of these prod­ucts, which were rein­tro­duced early this year af­ter be­ing dis­con­tin­ued in 2007 at the height of the coun­try’s eco­nomic melt­down.

The new in­vest­ment will go to­wards the com­mis­sion­ing of San­dak and Pata Pata mak­ing equip­ment, man­age­ment said.

Some funds have been chan­nelled to­wards the re­fur­bish­ment of some of the com­pany’s re­tail out­lets as well as in­stal­la­tion of ca­bles to con­nect the en­tire Gweru fac­tory with its standby gen­er­a­tor.

Bata man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Mr Eh­san Za­man, said the con­nec­tion of the fac­tory to the standby gen­er­a­tors meant that the com­pany was now im­mune to in­ter­mit­tent power cuts.

“We had se­ri­ous is­sues with the power sup­ply and we in­vested in lay­ing ca­bles to con­nect all the fac­to­ries with our standby gen­er­a­tors so that we con­tinue with pro­duc­tion even if there is a power out­age,” said Mr Za­man.

“We also in­vested heav­ily in San­dak and Pata-Pata ma­chines while the other funds were chan­nelled to­wards the re­fur­bish­ment of some of our re­tail out­lets. The en­tire ex­er­cise has cost us about $500 000 since the be­gin­ning of the year.”

The Bata boss said the com­pany is now tar­get­ing the South African ex­port mar­ket where there is a lu­cra­tive mar­ket for school shoes and its Tommy line.

Once ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bata South Africa are fi­nalised the lo­cal con­cern will in­ject an­other $500 000 next year, which will be chan­nelled to­wards work­ing cap­i­tal to raise pro­duc­tion to cater for the new ex­port mar­ket.

Mr Za­man said the com­pany would bring an ad­di­tional shift, which would fur­ther ramp up ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion cur­rently sit­ting at around 90 per­cent.

“I be­lieve next year we will in­ject the same amount into the busi­ness but it is not fi­nalised yet. If we are able to fi­nalise some (ex­port) deals with South Africa we are likely to in­crease our ex­ports and if that hap­pens then the ca­pac­ity will in­crease mean­ing that we have to put an ad­di­tional line in op­er­a­tion,” said Mr Za­man.

“We are likely to come up with a con­clu­sion at the end of this year to see whether there is a like­li­hood of an in­crease in ex­ports of which South Africa is key where we in­tend to ex­port school shoes and Tommy”.

Bata ex­ports to Malawi, Zambia and Botswana re­gion­ally and has since last year made some in­roads into the Latin Amer­i­can mar­ket mainly Chile. — @lavuzi­gara1

Min­is­ter of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Dr Wal­ter Mzembi

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