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More tourists flock to Victoria Falls



TOURIST arrivals in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe have increased by 50 per cent this year with hotels in the prime resort destination recording 100 per cent bookings as more visitors flock into Zimbabwe under the new political dispensation.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said this during a dinner reception for World Class Football Legends and their local counterparts on Wednesday evening after a match at the National Sports Stadium.

She said tourism was a key economic pillar hence Government and its stakeholders have taken deliberate steps to increase earnings from the sector.“The numbers of visitors including the legends coming to Zimbabwe, in Victoria Falls alone, we have had an increase of 50 per cent in arrivals since the coming in of the new dispensation.

“Our hotels are 100 per cent booked, which last happened in 1999,” said Minister Mupfumira. Zimbabwe under the new political dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa is implementing a range of domestic business reforms including international re-engagement, which have enthused a diversity of stakeholders across the spectrum.

Since last November when President Mnangagwa assumed power, scores of individuals, business delegations and big organisational representatives have been flocking into the country to explore various investment opportunities as well as leisure. Similar interest in arrivals was being shown across the diversity of the country’s resort areas.

As such the minister said Government was scaling up efforts to market destination Zimbabwe through various campaigns, working closely with individual and group agencies locally and abroad to project an attractive tourism brand.

Minister Mupfumira said the objective of the Wednesday match between local and foreign football legends was to promote tourism in Zimbabwe through sport in line with Government policy.

Going forward, she said a deal has been made for the World Class Legends to work with the country as tourism ambassadors in the international arena.
Similarly, Minister Mupfumira said local top football clubs — Highlanders and Dynamos would be roped in as partners to also assist in drumming up domestic tourism given their influence in the country.

The World Class Legends have been in Zimbabwe for a couple of days and have been taken across different destinations to appreciate the variety of tourism products that the country has, which they will help promote.

She said broadening the scope of the tourism industry was critical under the “Zimbabwe is open for businesses” drive, which is a trump-card of President Mnangagwa’s Government.

Minister Mupfumira stressed that Zimbabwe has a rich natural tourism resource base and an attractive culture and skill that makes her best positioned as a top tourist destination.

World Class Legends group leader, Rayco Garcia, said Zimbabwe was an exciting destination and expressed satisfaction with the exposure and experience the delegation got in the country.

“We appreciate all of you for the hospitality and the wonderful days we have had in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, one of the wonders you have in this country. Now is the time to open Zimbabwe for business.

“I feel so proud today and we are putting our hand in placing Zimbabwe in the limelight as a land of opportunity and the future.”He paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) for organising the event and challenged local footballers to up their game and make an impact at the international level.

The legends pledged to facilitate a 10-day attachment for the technical teams from Highlanders and Dynamos with the Spanish top teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid soon.

ZTA chief executive officer Mr Karikoga Kaseke also said sports tourism has the potential to drive domestic tourism given its ability to unite people from different backgrounds.

The Chronicle

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African leaders boycott WEF Africa over xenophobic attacks in SA



World Economic Forum on Africa

The presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi have decided not to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted by South Africa in the face of ongoing looting and burning of small businesses in that country, owned largely by African immigrants, local media reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the attacks, which have seen scores of people arrested in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Reports said Zambia had also cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa’s national men’s team Bafana Bafana scheduled for March.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari instructed his foreign affairs minister to summon South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria over the violence.

Some South Africans say they are retaliating against crime committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners, but political analysts say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over joblessness and general economic woes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union Commission’s Faki called for “immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice is done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”

“The chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity,” his spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. African News Agency

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Econet goes into forex exchange. Launches bureau de change



Ecocash Zimbabwe

ECOCASH has launched a digital mobile phone-based bureau de change in a move set to increase competition in the foreign currency exchange business.

The innovative facility, a first by a mobile money service provider, will likely revolutionise the business by providing the much-needed convenience to the platform’s 10 million registered customers.

According to the company, the new service will allow EcoCash customers to sell foreign currency in real-time and instantly have the local currency converted and credited to their wallets.

The move follows the granting of an operating licence to EcoCash by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has an effect of increasing access to specialised digital financial services to millions of Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the launch of the service in Harare yesterday, EcoCash chief executive officer, Ms Natalie Jabangwe, explained how the service would work.

“Before performing a currency conversion transaction, one needs to fund their EcoCash wallet,” she said, adding that a wallet could be funded in a number of ways.

“You fund your wallet by doing a cash-in of physical US dollars (or forex) into the wallet. Or you fund your wallet over the counter, at any Econet Shop. You can also fund your wallet through a direct in-wallet receipt of remittances from the diaspora into your EcoCash wallet. This could be through existing EcoCash remittance partners, which include Cassava Remit, World Remit, Mukuru, Western Union, Money Gram, Orange Botswana and MTN.”
Ms Jabangwe said an EcoCash customer could also fund their wallet via a Nostro bank-to-wallet transfer on their phone, from their respective FCA bank account linked to the EcoCash FCA wallet. She said once the wallet was funded, a customer could then proceed to dial a dedicated EcoCash Bureau de Change menu on the access code *150# to carry out their transaction.

“Customers will be able to check the rate of the day, get a quote for the amount to be sold and receive instant ‘confirmation of sale’ of foreign currency and the ZW$ conversation amount – all this happening via their mobile phone,” Ms Jabangwe said.

Cassava Smartech CEO, Mr Eddie Chibi, the parent company of EcoCash, said: “We are excited to be the first and only mobile financial service provider in Africa to offer this innovative service to our customers, empowering them with a simple, convenient, fast and real-time Bureau de Change service that they can access and use to transact anywhere, anytime.”

He said the service will help customers access competitive exchange rates quickly, convert or change their money in real-time, and transact on a secure platform that they have come to trust.

Ms Jabangwe said EcoCash Zimbabwe continued to leverage on the dynamic innovation capabilities that technology gives by building new products and services that go beyond the early services of financial inclusion.

“The advantage of having a scaled transaction platform is that you can build new services in line with a changing market environment. Accessibility of these services on the mobile phone enables us to travel the journey with our customers towards more complex but necessary financial services in the future,” she said. The Chronicle

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Eskom Begins 400MW Power Supply to Zimbabwe



Fortune Chasi

ZESA Holdings has reportedly started receiving 400 Megawatts of electricity from South Africa power utility, ESKOM.

This comes after the latter accepted Zimbabwe’s payment plan which involves payment of US$890,000 per week to settle its long-standing debt with ESKOM.

Zimbabwe is currently generating about 692 megawatts against a daily peak demand of about 1 600MW to 2000MW in winter.
All sectors were projecting fewer revenues this year as a result of the crippling load-shedding which ZESA had implemented due to the power deficit in the country.

Some companies were contemplating closing some of their branches with OK Zimbabwe, one of the biggest retailers in the country, having already closed one of its shops in Rusape.

The main power generator in the country, Kariba South Hydropower plant, has reportedly been immensely affected by the shrinking water levels at the dam whilst Hwange thermal power is underperforming due to ageing equipment.

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