Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Monday, 26 August 2013
Date: 26 August
US$300 Million Theme Park For Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe plans to set up a US$300 million world class theme park in Victoria Falls as a way of fully exploiting the resort town for the benefit of the economy, a cabinet Minister has said. Victoria Falls town is already a major tourist destination but government says it intends to ensure it also attracts and retains capital in the country.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told New Ziana the government had acquired 1,200 hectares of land for construction of what he termed 'Disneyland in Africa.'
Mzembi said the Victoria Falls park would house among others shopping malls, banking, exhibition and entertainment facilities such as casinos. "We have reserved 1,200 hectares of land closer to Victoria Falls International Airport to do hotels and convention centres," he said on the sidelines of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly being co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
He said that the investment would not disturb flora and fauna near the falls. "The cost of the investment is about $300 million." Mzembi said part of the plan was to ensure that the town of Victoria Falls, currently just a tourist zone, attracted and captured capital. "We want to create a free zone with a banking centre where even people who do not necessarily live in Zimbabwe can open bank accounts there," he said.
With Victoria Falls having already been declared a 'cyber city', Mzembi said the government had plans to expand the town's airport to the tune of $150 million to allow easy access by bigger aircraft. He said the government had already found some partners including multilateral financial institutions to partially fund the project, whose master plan was being worked on by engineers.
Mzembi is on record lamenting that the Victoria Falls was not financially benefiting the country as it was being used as a transit zone, with tourists just being flown in to view the falls and taken out without spending much of their money in the country. The proposed development, he said, would also allow the town to attract the younger generation of tourists who found the town unattractive due to lack of entertainment facilities. "We need a bit of development. In the distant environs we must see ultra-modernity emerging which can attract the youthful market into this destination. Current visitors are very elderly couples as the youth are a bit bored," Mzembi earlier said. "They come and see the water and want to run because we are not providing the magnetism for their entertainment." Making the Victoria Falls attractive to capital would boost the tourism sectors earnings. The sector, which directly employs 300,000 people, earned the country $300 million in 2012.
Friday, 23 August 2013
Sunday, 18 August 2013
The Zimbabwe Government has paid US$40 million towards its Federation-era power debt to Zambia, paving the way for construction of the Batoka Gorge hydropower station. The payment was made through power utility ZESA, which is wholly-owned by government.
The debt was for the shared cost of the Kariba Dam construction and the associated infrastructure. It also included proceeds of the sale of assets belonging to Central African Power Corporation (CAPCO), a power firm jointly owned by the two countries as members of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was dissolved in 1963. CAPCO was running the Kariba power project for the two countries but was disbanded in 1987.
ZESA spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira, confirmed the development last week saying the debt payment would help pave the way towards the construction of the Batoka Gorge hydropower station. He also indicated that the debt balance would be paid within the next seven months.
"We have already paid US$40 million to Zambia as part settlement of the US$70,8 million debt," Gwasira said. "The balance will be cleared on or before March 2014 as we have total commitment to our side of the bargain to ensure that we have a clean bill with our Zambian counterparts. ZESA Holdings has rendered its cooperation to its Zambian counterparts, a move that will go a long way to ensure the smooth execution of the Batoka Hydro power project to achieve security of electricity supply."
Zimbabwe and Zambia last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly construct the Batoka hydro electric project with each country expected to get 800MW of electricity from the project, a development which would help boost power supply in the two countries.
The agreement on the project, situated about 50km downstream of Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, was however dependent on Zimbabwe's commitment to pay off the debt it owed Zambia over CAPCO.
The Batoka project, estimated to cost about US$3 billion is expected to be built and operated by a private company for a period of years before transferring ownership to the two states.
Recently the State Procurement Board awarded tenders to China Machinery Engineering Company and Sino Hydro Corporation to expand Hwange and Kariba power stations respectively. The expansion of Hwange will see the additional of two units with a combined generation capacity of 600MW while the expansion of Kariba Power station will add 300MW of electricity to the national grid. Zimbabwe has also embarked on the refurbishment of its power stations to boost generation capacity.
The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is in the process of translocating stocks of wild animals to suppliment populations in the Zambezi National Park, Victoria Falls, ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next week.
The Authority is in the process of translocating 151 wildebeests, 25 elands, 60 zebras, 100 impalas and 10 giraffe from the Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo. Outgoing Wildlife and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema yesterday witnessed the translocation of several animals being released into the Boma holding at Chemabondo.
Nhema expanded “We are translocating the animals from Save Valley Conservancy to Zambezi National Park to beef up the population there. In the past we had translocated 101 wildebeests, 34 impala, 16 eland and 18 zebras. Today we have seen the translocation of another consignment of 20 eland, 64 impala, and 17 zebra. The animal population had decreased, in short, due to poaching and other factors and we are now correcting past mistakes.
“There are several reasons why protected areas require population supplementation. Some of these reasons include increasing visibility for wildlife tourism, strengthening the genetic pool, destocking, overpopulated areas, establishing the desired sex ratios and increasing prey base for large carnivores," he said.
Source: The Herald
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
Ms Masebo said a common visa would be a milestone for the region as it would allow for the free movement of people and goods within the five-member countries and ultimately promote tourism in the region. “One of the points to note from the just-ended Angola meeting is that by December 31, 2013, it is hoped that we shall have the common KAZA-TFCA visa between five member countries. This will allow for free movement of people and goods and it will be a milestone for tourism promotion,” Ms Masebo said.
“We have come from a very successful KAZA-TFCA Ministers meeting in Angola. During the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Livingstone, this month, delegates will be taken to KAZA-TFCA projects in Zambia,” Ms Masebo said.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Speaking at the closing act of the KAZA ministers meeting, held in Menongue City in the southern Kuando Kubango province, the Minister, who has chaired the meeting, highlighted the need for the member countries (Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana) to be more and more united so that issues related to economic, academic, social and tourist development may be achieved.
At the opening of the meeting the governor of Kuando-Kubango province, Higino Carneiro announced that two aircraft will be made available for air patrol and transportation of personnel deployed at the Luiana, Mavinga, Mucusso and Luengue parks for the protection and management of wildlife resources. The ministers of Zambia and Namibia, Sílvia Masebo, and Huaekua Herunga, respectively, attended the meeting.
More about KAZA
The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area is situated in the Okavango and Zambezi river basins where the borders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge.
It is set to become the world's biggest conservation area and will eventually span an area of approximately 520,000 km2 (similar in size to France). It will include 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas. Most notably, the area will include the Caprivi Strip, Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta (the largest Ramsar Site in the World) and the Victoria Falls (a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World) and has the potential to insulate the region from the effects of flooding and climate change. The natural resources contained in the KAZA TFCA are also critical to the sustainable development of the region on account of their inherent and enormous socio-economic value.
Kavango-Zambezi promises to be southern Africa's premier tourist destination and vitally important wildlife refuge, with the largest contiguous population of the African elephant on the continent, representing over half the total population.
Source: Angolan Press Agency