ENVIRONMENT, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira says Zimbabwe is ready to host the first every AU-UN Africa Wildlife Summit this month (June) in Victoria Falls.
The summit comes at a time when Zimbabwe is in a dilemma on whether to remain of pull out of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) due to differences.
Some of the challenges giving Zimbabwe a dilemma such as the continued ban in the sale of ivory and other species are expected to be discussed at the summit.
In a statement, Minister Mupfumira said she is excited that the country is hosting this first-ever summit which is being sponsored by the African Union (AU) and UN Environment.
“We are happy that we are going to host the first ever wildlife summit focusing on economies and it will be held in Victoria Falls on the 23rd and 25 of June, it’s an AU and UN Environment sponsored summit and Zimbabwe is hosting.
“We are looking forward to having a successful conference and as you are aware that Zimbabwe is in the KAZA Region and KAZA boasts of holding over 60% of the world’s elephants population these are some of the issues we need to discuss.
“We are also going to discuss how wildlife impacts on ordinary people and how we can manage human and wildlife conflict. We want to come up with resolutions which will be good for conservation, looking after our wildlife and also making sure that the people living with wildlife also benefit and their livelihood would be improved so these are some of the issues we are going to discuss,” she said.
Zimbabwe has about 84 000 elephants which are housed in various national parks around the country and this huge number has become unsustainable for them but they cannot do anything about it owing to CITES restrictions.
According to the Tourism Minister, President Emmerson Mnangagwa will also officiate at the summit and they are expecting some ministers from across Africa to attend.
“We have various international speakers and of course our own Zimbabweans are going to contribute in the deliberations and we are happy that His Excellency will be hosting and we look forward to hosting some African ministers and hopefully head of states.
“But so far over 30 countries from Africa have registered to come and confirmed their participation, so it’s a good event for us showcasing and continuing to have Zimbabwe as the best sustainable tourism destination,” she said.
Although the summit will be a plus on the country’s safari tourism, it will also do well as an endorsement to the country’s ability and suitability for MICE business.