G20 finance ministers and central bank governors are gathering for their third meeting during Turkey's presidency. These meetings give the G20 an opportunity to confirm 2015 outcomes and demonstrate that the G20 remains the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
Hon Eng Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism & Hospitality for Zimbabwe and the current chairperson for the UNWTO Commission for Africa addressed the body. Here is the transcript of his intervention:
Let me initially acknowledge the Turkish Presidency of the G20, and associate Zimbabwe and Africa with its key thrusts of:
1) Implementation: and its attendant outputs of creating Credibility and Trust
2) Investment: and the recognition that it cannot be financed from PVT Sector alone, but that PPPs are the way to go
3) and finally but most importantly the principle of - Inclusiveness : as relating to the inclusion of women and youth, in the aspects of employment creation and Entreprenuership (SMEs).
Let me also join colleagues in acknowledging your kind and unparalleled hospitality extended to my delegation and all of us, I can assure you I will be back ! I slept like a baby, and missed breakfast in the process!
- At the National Level , Tourism in Zimbabwe, is now the lead sector, with a projected sectoral growth in 2015 of 5.1 % ahead of Mining, Agriculture and Manufacturing
- To emphasize this we have designated the Victoria Falls as a Special Economic Zone,and we invite the world to come and invest, as we shall offer unparalleled investment conditions equivalent to those found in Free Zone elsewhere as you have come to know them.
- To that end we will before the end of this year , commission a legacy project of the 20 th Session UNWTO GA: the New Victoria Falls Airport, a $200m expansion upgrade that will see us enhancing our capacity to process arrivals between us and Harry Nkumbula Airport across the Victoria Falls Bridge in Livingstone Zambia to 4 million visitors by year 2020.
- There are many policy initiatives and reforms taking place in my country, but with specific reference to my sector in 2012 we approved a New Tourism Policy , very much aligned to Target 8.9 on Sustainable Tourism Policy design, all in pursuit of achieving absolute destination openness and ultimately attracting investment, and achieving United Nations SDGs as shared earlier .
I drive vision 5:5:15:2020 in Zimbabwe, interpreted to mean 5m arrivals, $5 bil receipts and 15% contribution to GDP by year 2020.
- Turning to the business of the day , the T20 initiative, we heard its genesis being the challenges posed by Global Recession in 2008/2009.
- The challenges will be with us now and in the future, and we must factor them in our planning
-We also heard and know how Tourism is part of the solution going forward
-And yet we grapple with packaging Tourism for better understanding by our GVTs, National Policy makers, and Enablers so that they can grow it for better benefit of all.
- I therefore appreciate this initiative, and impending T20 declaration , meant to enhance understanding , appreciation to the G20 Political Architecture and decision makers that more can happen and can be resolved by this sector.
- This is a very good benchmark for us in Africa, were we are beset with similar challenges at the African Union and in our Regional and National economies.
-As UNWTO Commission for Africa Chairperson I am already leading an initiative to push a policy reform agenda at the AU which will see Tourism better understood and structurally accommodated .
- My presence here therefore is not just a national one but a continental one, even more from a capacity building and benchmarking angle where I am supposed to share with Collegue Ministers in Africa, best practice and lessons learnt .
-my presence here is a mirror image of the G20' s own invitation to Zimbabwe as AU Chair to participate in its proceedings and meetings under the Turkish Presidency.
- I also wish to share with you our warm and cordial relations with Turkey whose first Ambassador presented his credentials to my President two years ago.
- This was in recognition of the potential Africa presents to Europe , Eurasia and the G20 as the solution to the perennial problem of economic meltdowns that continue to haunt your speculative economies .
-There is a new Scramble for Africa characterized by commercial diplomacy as opposed to the Berlin Conference one, that was driven mainly by conquest, plunder and imposition of boundaries that created what we call countries in the Continent today, 54 in all.
- In this new thrust Tourism will play a critical role, in the Visit - Trade & Invest value chain
- In the recent past we have noticed a huge surge in business reconnaissance missions into Africa ( individual , group and institutional ) which should prompt us to review the role of a Tourism Minister going beyond just being a product and promotion marketer to a business broker given our frontline role
- Equally , it calls for a paradigm shift in the UNWTO, WTTC, and other related agencies and institutions in appreciating the New Africa, captured aptly by Vision 2063, which gives promise to a dispensation of a "new way of doing business"
-Doing business in an ICT World, a better connected one, a new World order of openness
- A world where everything will start with a Visit
- Our current state as Africa , of the least open, connected, lighted, unexplored continent is the opportunity for you here, and your most practical prospect of getting out of recession and signposting economic growth for the future
-Africa is beckoning but it must find a willing, adventurous and pioneering spirit in you that created our countries in the first instance but this time engaging in commercial diplomacy on a win- win basis.
- It behoves me to appeal to G20 members outside UNWTO membership ( USA , UK, Canada, Australia) to reconsider their earlier decisions, which self excommunicated them, to come back home , and into the family of the UNWTO . We have a better value proposition than when you left, a survival and growth prescription for your Economies, and T20 while providing you the bridge to UNWTO, does not answer our fully our aspirations to engage you at least cost through your Membership of the Organisation.
- G20 being our chief source market, and especially the Countries that opted out, you have in the process created high access costs to your markets which we could do with very minimally if you were part of our broader peer group
- Africa rejects your budget excuses for not belonging, for if Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Seychelles or Haiti can afford then clearly you should.
- So it must have been about value proposition which we now offer and I hope we can have you back soon. I appreciate very much the privilege of being in your company but I hope we can meet in the broader fraternity of the UNWTO
God Bless Africa