Should Africa Support Zimbabwe’s Mzembi Push For UNWTO Sec- Gen Post?

Following Zimbabwe nomination and the Southern African Development Community’s endorsement of the candidature of Dr Walter Mzembi to the position of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO], which falls vacant in the last quarter of 2017, the mercurial Engineer, is in the United States of America on a diplomatic charm offensive, where he is reported to be making significant inroads into the Washington power matrix.

On Monday 4, April 2016, accompanied by the Zimbabwe Ambassador to Washington DC Amon Mutembwa and Senior Officials, he paid a courtesy call on the US Department where he met Todd Haskell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and other Senior Officials in the Department.

According to the programme seen by this publication, Mzembi later addressed the Corporate Council on Africa [CCA] meeting on “Destination Africa: The Future of African Tourism”.

As guest speaker, he met a conglomerate of US private sector, business and public policy experts on the tourism sector.

Corporate Council on Africa, a leading Washington Think Tank brings together public and private sectors in the USA and seeks to promote business and investment between the United States and Africa.

The question is, should the rest of Africa support Nzembi’s candidacy? Who is He? What has he contributed to Africa tourism development since he got on the Board of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO]?

Or should Africa’s candidate be dictated from abroad again? For the publisher/editor of African Travel Times Magazine who at a time worked with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA], and have met Nzembi both in Zimababwe and abroad on several occasions, no one can better x-ray him better than the editor.

Though, very intelligent just like most educated Zimbabweans, but like most Zimbabwe tourism leadership/administrators cannot be trusted. This writer was at the heart of media and public relations project that has brought that country to international limelight once again through tourism; however, what he saw was nothing, but people that money matters to much more than their image.

Honesty regrettably is a scare commodity among that blessed country’s tourism administrators.

Besides, I will not be in support of a Third World candidate again that tourism is passing through one of the most difficult period of human history. The out-going Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, was nothing but a disgrace to third World countries.

His tenure so far gives nothing to Africa tourism; rather, we were ripped off all the time. There was never a time that the UNWTO under him gave anything to Africa.

His visits to Africa were nothing but mere photo sessions and rhetoric. Nzembe is not a good product that can help African tourism, much more the world. Africa has more qualified people with passion for the sector and with minimum risk.

Nzembe’s lobbying of CCA, an American organization devoted to US-Africa business relations and includes as its members, more than 180 companies, which represents nearly 85 per cent of total US private and public sector investments in Africa, [CCA’s members range from America’s smallest to the largest corporations] will not work.

Though, it represents a diverse pool of industries from Africa’s most promising sectors, including agribusiness, capacity building, energy, finance, health, ICT, infrastructure and security.
The Corporate Council on Africa is a key resource mobiliser for conducting successful business in Africa.

It works closely with governments, multilateral groups and businesses to improve Africa’s trade and investment climate and to raise the profile of Africa in the U.S. business community.

Most importantly, recently, CCA acquired the Africa Travel Association [ATA], a major organization that deals with promotion of tourism relationships between Africa and US.

Mzembi is a three-time past President of the then New York based Association. The CCA President and Chief Executive, Mr Stephen Hayes is understood to be consulting for Mzembi on the future structure of ATA under its new CCA configuration.

According to the source close to the deliberations, Mzembi impressed the CCA capacity audience with several companies having offered to work with him in exploiting opportunities in Africa.
He spoke convincingly on the need to configure CCA-ATA in a manner that responds to the tourism growth trajectory and aspirations of African countries.

The minister suggested the consummation of a structure that dovetails into African Union Agenda 2063 with a recommendation on the devolution of emerging CCA-ATA structure into an African Secretariat based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Currently, Africa’s global tourism market share oscillates from three to five per cent, and Mzembi shared his vision for a double digit market share for African tourism by the year 2030 on the back of a cocktail of proposals he has advanced to the AU in his capacity as the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson.

In addition, the Minister rounded off his visit in New York where he will addressed a meeting of diplomats accredited to the United Nations where he will share his vision on tourism development.

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