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KAZA MINISTERIAL MEETING UNDERWAY IN VIC FALLS

Environment, Tourism & Hospitality Industry Minister, Priscah Mupfumira, is leading a delegation to the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) meeting currently underway in Victoria Falls.

The meeting is being attended by ministers from KAZA partner countries, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. This meeting gives the region to discuss conservation and tourism issues within the region and a clarion call has been made to ensure that communities benefit from the rich wildlife within the region.

Addressing the meeting, Tourism minister Mupfumira said: “I believe the KAZA TFCA main goal which is ‘to collaborate in conservation of our natural resources and promote tourism whilst boosting the socio-economic environment for our local communities’, is achievable and a noble cause.

“The focus of our efforts should be to transform the lives of the communities throughout the KAZA landscape, contribute to the socio-economic development of our nations as well as improve the conservation status of flora and fauna of the TFCA.”

This dream, said Mupfumira, can only be achieved through collaborative efforts with all stakeholders that include the private sector, civil society, local communities, development partners, academia and research institutions among others.

“As it stands, KAZA TFCA is moving in the right direction, having forged a number of partnerships for development. We have a number of projects that are taking place in the KAZA Region and the support is just overwhelming but we still need to do more.  Our local communities are supportive of the various initiatives,” she said.

“This meeting should reflect on all the progress that we have recorded to date and map the way forward on any challenges concerning the implementation and development of the KAZA TFCA.”

Mupfumira said that tourism was largely a low hanging fruit, and the members’ thrust should be two pronged; that is grow both international arrivals and domestic tourism so that the locals may also enjoy their God-given resources.

“All this can only happen when we continue to look after our pristine wildlife and environment,” she said.

“Honourable Ministers, you all appreciate the current positive contributions tourism is making to our economies, in terms of foreign currency inflows, employment creation and contribution to our GDPs. We need therefore to thrive, not just to sustain such contributions at current levels, but to increase the same.”

The collaborative effort in conserving the pristine wildlife and environment that has seen two member states within the KAZA region receiving internationally recognised awards. Namibia received the Best Safari and Wildlife Destination award while Zimbabwe received the Sustainable Destination of the Year 2019 award at ITB among others.

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