Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
FIRST Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa yesterday appealed to the corporate and financial sector to fund youths projects.
Addressing delegates to the 3rd edition of Africa Youth in Tourism conference at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo, the First Lady said some of the youths’ brillliant initiatives suffer still birth due to lack of funding.
Amai Mnangagwa said the private sector should complement Government efforts to empower the youths by providing funding.
The conference which started on Thursday and ends today is running under the theme “Changing Africa’s Future by Accelerating Investment Capacity for Youth Sustainable Tourism Development.”
Africa Youth in Tourism conference brings together continental players to share ideas on how to tap into the tourism sector for the benefit of respective countries.
Amai Mnangagwa who is the patron of Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism, said youths should be assisted to realise their dreams.
“May I in this regard take this opportunity to appeal to banks and corporates to heed Government’s call to support the youths in the tourism sector. Most financial institutions require collateral, which most of these youths do not have. I therefore, appeal to you to look into their ideas and move with them until they can stand on their own. We are losing a lot of opportunities and brilliant ideas because of stringent requirements for one to obtain a loan. I therefore, call for unity of purpose between Government and the private sector to champion the cause for the youths to enable them to realise their full potential,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
The First Lady said the Zimbabwe National Tourism Policy and the National Youth Policy are a testament of Government’s commitment to empowering youths to participate in tourism.
She said youths should therefore take advantage of opportunities that exist in the tourism sector.
Amai Mnangagwa said the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates that world tourism arrivals increased 1,4 billion in 2018 from 1,3 billion the previous year.
She said from the global tourism arrivals’ statistics, only 62,9 million came to Africa, something which should challenge youths in the tourism sector. “It is important to note that Africa receives less than eight percent of the global arrivals and this is a challenge for the youths in tourism. You should therefore work hard to ensure that Africa enjoys a greater share of the global tourism cake,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
The First Lady challenged youths to tap into existing opportunities and be involved in mainstream economic activities.
Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism director general Mr Stuart Mutizwa said youths were failing to realise their full potential due to incapacitation.
“The youths continue to face structural challenges embedded in the gap between policy promises and implementation. The gaps include highly pegged requirements which are far beyond the reach of many youths, lack of start-up capital, financial exclusion and limited capacity building to transfer managerial and financial leadership skills to the youths in the sector,” said Mr Mutizwa.
He appealed to the Government to relax some of the stringent requirments impeding the youths from fully participating in economic growth through tourism.
Acting Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, the Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Judith Ncube and other senior government officials attended the conference. — @nqotshili