Zimbabwe: African Union Endorses Walter Mzembi For UNWTO Secretary General Post


Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwean Tourism Minister and Hospitality Industry has been endorsed as Africa’s sole candidacy by the African Union [AU] to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO].

The endorsement was made at the on-going 27th Summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda for which UNWTO election process will start in October 2016.

The Executive Council consists of mostly Foreign Ministers from African countries except Morocco that only re-applied for membership.

Mzembi has been on the road lobbying to get endorsement after endorsement from world leaders, global tourism organizations, and now from the African Union to lead world tourism in the United Nations system.

Tourism is the largest job generator in the world and one in every 10 world’s work force is employed directly or indirectly in the travel and tourism industry.

Walter Mzembi, Ph.D, has been Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry in Zimbabwe since 2009 and a Member of Parliament for the Masvingo South Constituency since 2004 as well as United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson from 2013 to date.

This industry, however, is facing enormous challenges in regards to global security. It will take a special type of leader for this post.

Mzembi is known to bring fresh and sometimes out-of-the-box ideas to the table and may just be the man for this job. Some had told him that he is fit for the job, but may be the minister representing the wrong country.

The world platform is changing fast, and after all, this may very well play to his strategic advantage over time. Africa is now being taken seriously in the world, and the minister’s approval is an endorsement not only for him but for an Africa that has learned and now knows how to speak with one powerful voice.

Mzembi’s experience in the world of tourism includes such international positions as Chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community Committee of Tourism Ministers in 2015, UNWTO Executive Council Member from 2009 to 2013, UNWTO Co-President in Session 20 of the General Assembly from 2013-2015, as well as President of the Africa Travel Association [New York-based] 3 times.

Just last week, he was recognized as a Tourism Leader by the International Coalition of Tourism Partners [ICTP] and has received several industry awards across the world.

Ronald Mracky, Managing Director, Africa Consult Group in the United States was one of the first international players to congratulate Mzembi. He said, “Personal good wishes and congratulations from Sylvia and me on your African Union achievement of becoming Africa’s unchallenged choice for the UNWTO Secretary General.

“In our private and professional positions, we endorse the AU decision and be assured of our support in obtaining the needed world support for you and Africa within the worldwide tourism community”.

“You have the qualifications to lead UNWTO and assist today’s world in utilising tourism as a force for peace, good and economic progress.

“Please accept our sincere congratulations” Mracky reiterated.

Mracky was a senior member of the Africa Travel Association [ATA], Pacific Asia Travel Association [PATA], International Air Transport Association [IATA], associate member of American Society of Travel Agents [ASTA], and other professional and academic groups.

Mzembi has been Zimbabwe minister of tourism and hospitality industry for 9 years; also the world’s third longest serving tourism ministers behind Azerbaijani tourism minister that has stayed for 23 years and his Cuban counterpart who has been in office for 18 years.

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