ZIMBABWE – HARARE – ZIMBABWE’S biggest international investment conference since the formation of the inclusive Government, the Africa investor (Ai) Pan-African Tourism and Infrastructure Investment Summit starts in Harare today, with 14 African government ministers, international bankers and 32 chief executive officers of international investment financiers attending.
Also represented at the conference, that runs until Thursday, are the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.
President Mugabe is expected to officially open the summit while Prime Minister Mor-gan Tsvangirai and his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe are expected to give keynote addresses.
Ai, a leading international investment research and communications company, is partnering the Government, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, in hosting the conference which will discuss tourism strategies, investment opportunities and tourism infrastructure development that should make Zimbabwe maximise gains expected to accrue from the 2010 Soccer World Cup extravaganza.
Africa investor is a specialist investment communications firm advising governments, international organisations and businesses on communication strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa.
Ai is bringing investors, project promoters and city planning officials to discuss the role of the World Cup in supporting tourism investment in Africa.
The conference will include interviews with leading investors, hoteliers, forecasts from top economists, panel discussions on the latest developments, trends and best practices in the tourism investment and city planning industries.
Another key event at the summit is the Ministerial Roundtable that will feature Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Botswana, and Ghana.
Other speakers include American Sister Cities International Global Envoy Nancy M. Huppert, Mr Kevin Teeroovengadum, Director, Actis; and Mr Godfrey Tapela, Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation.
Minister Mzembi said the summit was Zimbabwe’s mega investment event before the 2010 World Cup finals to be held in June in South Africa.
The summit will coincide with the prestigious Africa investor Tourism Investment Awards, which will be announced tomorrow evening during the summit’s gala dinner, organised in recognition of the companies being awarded for their excellence in the industry.
The summit brings together tourism and infrastructure project promoters with private and institutional investors with interests in Africa. Africa investor will also facilitate pre-arranged one-on-one meetings between investors and project promoters.
This year’s summit will be examining major tourism infrastructure investment and privatisation opportunities across Africa. On the second day, Africa investor will host the first Infrastructure and Tourism Investment Roundtable with the Government of Zimbabwe, to showcase their portfolio of privatisation, infrastructure, tourism and mining investment opportunities for the first time.
Commenting on the awards, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation and speaker at the summit, said the awards were recognition of Africa’s most innovative.
“These awards are the only initiative designed to recognise the achievement of those businesses, governments, organisations and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the growth of sustainable tourism investment in Africa,” said Mr Lipman.
Summit sponsors and partners include the Government of Zimbabwe, the ZTA, African Export-Import Bank, African Sun, Meikles, Rani Investment Group, Native Investment, Cresta Hotel Group, CNN International, Sister Cities International, the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa), Nepad Business Group, NEPAD, Modern Ghana, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), Africa Project Access, Africa Travel Channel, Reconnect Africa and The Standard.