Zim bids to host UN flagship event



Zimbabwe has proposed to host the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) flagship conference of African ministers of Finance and Economic Planning next year.

The bid, if successful, will make Zimbabwe the second country in Southern Africa to host the event in 14 years after Malawi in 2010.

It has, however, hosted other UN events such the 6th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in 2020 and the UN World Tourism Organisation it co-hosted with Zambia in 2013.

Morocco appeared to be in line as the destination of next year’s conference after its delegation told a committee of experts last week that it was ready to host the mega event for the second time in five years.

Morocco’s city Marrakech hosted the 2019 edition of the conference.

But Zimbabwe pulled the rug from Morocco’s feet this week with head of delegation Innocent Matshe announcing to the ministers and experts at this year’s conference of ministers that the country was ready to host.

Matshe was representing Finance minister Mthuli Ncube who could not attend the conference due to other commitments.

Southern African members, South Africa and Lesotho, supported the bid arguing that Zimbabwe was justified as no country in the region had hosted the event.

Bureau chair Henry Musasizi deferred the matter for further consultations.

“The resolution for the next county host was very clear. We deferred the issue to further consultation and as the Bureau we will look into the matter and make an appropriate decision which shall be announced at an appropriate date,” he said in his response to inquiries by Business Times.

The Bureau represents Africa’s five sub-regions and comprises a chair, three vice-chairs and a rapporteur.

The conference of ministers brings together African ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, experts and the civil society to delve on pressing issues confronting the continent and proffering solutions.

The bid underlines Zimbabwe’s thrust to grow the tourism sector by tapping into the meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition (MICE) tourism.

The National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy has placed the promotion of MICE tourism as an integral component of the tourism recovery plan.

“The hosting of MICE activities such as Conferences, Events, Fairs and Festivals has the potential to bring people and businesses together thereby building trust and boosting confidence in the destination. Engagement will be made with the relevant organisations that had cancelled or postponed scheduled international conferences to have them reconvened in the future,” the document said.

Experts say Zimbabwe has been slow in bidding for conferences as the Treasury sometimes does not give the necessary support citing lack of resources.

However, some countries, such as Rwanda, have been aggressive in getting the conferences thereby reaping the benefits of MICE tourism.


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