President Mnangagwa officially opens AU-UN Wildlife Summit

Dorcas Rumano

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially opened the Africa Union-United Nations (AU-UN) Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls today.

Addressing attendees gathered at the summit, President Mnangagwa said hosting the conference resonated with the country’s vision to ensure that citizens benefit from natural resources.

He added that the summit was being held at a time when tourism in Zimbabwe was on a rebound. He said achieving conservation principles was a top priority for Government, hence the need for more robust strategies.

The President also said that Government was promoting integrated conservancies to encourage community participation. He said Government remained committed to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rules but was concerned about the one-size-fits all approach saying CITES should desist from dictating to affected countries such as Zimbabwe on what to do, for example with their ivory stock piles.

Speaking at the same event, United Nations Environment Programmes Deputy Director Ms Joyce Msuya thanked President Mnangagwa’s administration for hosting the wildlife summit adding that she was looking forward to a strong wildlife economy.

“Our heartfelt thanks to the President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency President Mnangagwa and the Government of Zimbabwe for the leadership and generosity in hosting this important event. We thank you for the very warm Zimbabwean hospitality which we have all benefitted from. So let’s get together and roll the wildlife economy forward. I look forward to your commitment and actions that put wildlife at the forefront of economic development and the future we want for Africa,” she said.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu, Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi and Namibian President, Hage Geingob were among other notable people graced the summit.