Mzembi on course for UNWTO top job
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