Zambezi Book Company

Zambezi Book Company
Discover the history of the Victoria Falls with the Zambezi Book Company -

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Zimbabwe May Withdraw From Endangered-Species Deal to Sell $300 Million of Ivory

Zimbabwe may consider withdrawing from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species because the organization won’t allow it to sell its ivory stockpile.
The southern African nation with the world second-largest population of elephants has a stockpile of tusks worth an estimated $300 million and needs the revenue, Fulton Mangwanya, director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told lawmakers in the capital, Harare on Monday.
While CITES has banned international ivory sales to curb poaching, frustration is growing over the fact that “other countries are prescribing how we should handle our animals,” Mangwanya told a parliamentary committee on environment and tourism. Withdrawing from CITES would have the support of neighbors Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, which all have large elephant populations of their own, he said.
In recent years, Zimbabwe has raised money for conservation by selling elephants to China. The size of the population, estimated at 84,000, is twice what can be supported by available food and land, according to the government. Botswana last month lifted a hunting ban on wildlife because it says it has too many elephants, which destroy crops and sometimes kill people.
The last once-off commercial sale of stockpiles of elephant ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe that CITES allowed was completed in 2009. Most of the tusks went to China and Japan.
“Countries like Japan are supporting us, China is dilly-dallying, I’m not quite sure why, but they are the ones that want our ivory,” Mangwanya said.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Victoria Falls Recycling scheme expands

AFRICA Albida Tourism (AAT) is inten­sifying efforts to bolster the allure of one of the world’s seven wonders by keeping Victoria Falls clean through waste man­agement.

The Victoria Falls Recycling (VFR) project is aimed at recycling waste in the town, thereby reducing the amount of litter on the streets and the volume of waste going to the dumpsite.

The project is expected to spread to household level this month following the success of the initial stage which targeted collecting recyclable waste at commercial sites.

Sponsored by AAT and co-ordinated by a local environmental conservation­ist, Charlene Hewat, the VFR project has already had an impact in protecting the environment.

Furthermore, it has become a form of employment and money making venture for Victoria Falls residents. It employs locals who collect waste and are paid per kilogramme.

The success story of the VFR project has seen it scooping three awards only a year after its launch. These include the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents’ Industry Environment Award (Septem­ber 2018) and the Recycling Champion of the Year Award by the Corporate Social Responsibility Network Zimba­bwe (November 2018).

Last month, the initiative got interna­tional recognition by winning the Engage Africa Award at “We Are Africa”, a lead­ing travel show in Cape Town.

“We are Africa” awards celebrate the best in independent and brilliantly exe­cuted travel ideas.

Launched in March last year, VFR has so far collected more than 24 tonnes of paper, plastics, glass, beverage cans and packaging for recycling, among others.

Collected waste is further recycled in Harare and South Africa to make plastic bags and piping, among other things.

Hewat, who is the project co-ordina­tor, said the success of the initial plan has made them realise the importance of spreading the project.

“We initially began operations recy­cling paper and plastics. Collection at source is the focus of the project and we started off with hotels, lodges and restaurants. We will move to household collection mid-2019,” she said.

Since Victoria Falls does not have a proper landfill site, plans to expand the project are moving at a fast pace, although a few technicalities still need to be cleared.

“We have done a MoU with the council and it has gone through the first stage of clearance. Two stages now remain. We will be expanding once we secure the land. Right now, the place we are working on is too small for the bigger project,” she explained.

Through the project, recyclable goods will be collected from the Victoria Falls community. Materials that will be recy­cled include glass and beverage cans.

Other partners in the waste collec­tion initiative include the Victoria Falls Municipality, Greenline Africa Trust and Petreco Zim.

Over the years, AAT has undertaken a number of projects aimed at improving, promoting and safeguarding local tour­ism, particularly in Victoria Falls and surrounding areas like Hwange.

The hospitality giant is also involved in anti-poaching campaigns.

AAT chief executive Ross Kennedy is glad that their ingenuities are continuing to receive recognition.

“We are immensely proud to be involved in the founding, funding and operation of VFR. The next stage is to build a new recycling centre, where a retail outlet will also be set up to sell products created from recycled waste,” revealed Kennedy.

“Tourism is a lucrative business that nonetheless requires players in the trade to be proactive so as to stay ahead of the game.”

Last year, AAT won the Achievement in Marketing Award.

Ilala Lodge goes green

In celebration of World Environment Day 2019, a new environmentally-focused committee has been introduced at Ilala Lodge Hotel to advance sustainable tourism practices in Victoria Falls.

The Green Team of Ilala Lodge Hotel endeavours to address and implement environmentally-conscious initiatives. The committee is headed-up by Tapiwa Masawi and Amy Clements and includes a member of staff from each department at Ilala Lodge Hotel.

"The Green Team committee aims to deliver practical solutions towards more environmentally-friendly practises. We have kick-started the initiative by presenting a sustainable Waste Management Plan at Greenline Africa and Victoria Falls Municipality's monthly meeting held on the 4th June 2019," said Amy Clements.

Ilala Lodge Hotel has been recognised as a Silver member of the Green Tourism certification programme since 2016, which identifies the commitment of tourism businesses that actively work to become more sustainable.

"As a Green Tourism Silver member, we are committed to being as ‘eco-friendly' as possible in an effort to preserve and protect our surroundings. By establishing a team of employees passionate about their environment, we hope this takes us a step closer to reaching our ultimate goal of the Green Tourism Gold membership!" added Amy.

Source: New Committee progresses green tourism in Victoria Falls (05/06/19)

Zim to abolish multi-currency

PRESIDENT EMMERSON Mnangagwa has revealed that government had resolved to abolish the multi-currency system and ensure that all transactions are conducted using a local currency to be introduced into the market before year-end.

Addressing Southlea Park residents in Harare after a clean-up exercise yesterday, Mnangagwa said the multi-currency regime had been adopted to deal with the hyper-inflation experienced between 2008 and 2009, but there was no longer any basis to retain it.
Mnangagwa said the multi-currency regime had served its purpose and would soon be put to bed, an announcement likely to trigger panic in the already jittery financial market, where the RTGS$ is fast long value against the US$ each day.
“In 2008-2009, for those who were older, you will remember that our money (Zimbabwe dollar) collapsed to a point that one would wake up as a billionaire after going to bed a millionaire. Others became trillionaires,” he said.
“So, the government at that time sat down after seeing that our money was now valueless and came up with a basket of currencies, which included the American dollar, (South African) rand, (Botswana) pula and other currencies used to trade locally, so that we solve the problems which had befallen us at that time.
“But we can’t walk our journey without our own currency. There is no country without its own currency. South Africa has its rand. If you go to South Africa with an American dollar, a euro or any currency, you go to the bank and change it and get the rand. This is what you use in shops in that country. If you go to Botswana, Malawi or Zambia, you do the same.”
Mnangagwa said the current price fluctuations being experienced in the market were being caused by the absence of a local base currency.
“The country can’t prosper going ahead without its own currency. Currency from other countries is printed by those countries. We only get it if we export, then you get paid in foreign
currency, or those with friends and relatives in the diaspora, you will receive it,” he said.
“As a country, we must have our own currency. That journey, we have started. We have started that journey because right now you go and sleep when the US dollar is trading at 1:5 (against ZWL$), the following day you wake up, it will be trading at 1:7 and it (ZWL$) keeps losing value and after they have said that, then they increase prices citing the exchange rate,”
The new currency, according to Mnangagwa, will end 11 years of a multi-currency regime.
“We are going to a point where it will be illegal to trade using the American dollar or (British) pound locally. You can keep it in your pocket, but when you want to buy, you will
have to change it to local currency,” he said.
“In our plan as government and our economics, we are predicting that by year-end, the things that I am speaking of will have happened.”
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti, speaking in London early this week said the only way to save the Zimbabwean economy was to re-dollarise, adding a local currency could not be sustained given the poor levels of productivity.
Source: Zim to abolish multi-currency (8/6/19)

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Power Cuts Cripple Victoria Falls

Hotels in Victoria Falls are reeling from the current power outages that have forced them to use generators for hours as cuts intensify, businessdigest has established.
This has seen operating costs rising further for hotel operators in the area.
The power shortages stem from low water levels at Kariba Dam. In addition, the curtailment of power imports from Eskom South Africa and Mozambican power utility Hydro Electrica de Cahorra Bassa has resulted in widespread load shedding which has had an adverse impact on business.
Hoteliers who spoke to businessdigest this week said they had to procure fuel, a commodity that is in short supply, to run generators for their hotels as they are experiencing power cuts that run up to 12 hours a day.
"We need 20 litres an hour to run our generator which is 240 litres for the time when there is no power. When you consider that fuel is now nearly RTGS$5 a litre, it means we need RTGS$1 200 to buy fuel every time we experience power outages which is a huge cost we had not factored into our operations," a hotelier in the resort town said. "A hotel with 200-plus rooms will need 90 litres an hour for 12 hours on any given day without power translating to 1 080 litres a day which means the hotel will need RTGS$5 400 to buy fuel for a day without power."
He said what worsens the situation is the fuel shortage countrywide, which means that they are forced to source at a premium from the black market at extortionate prices.
"On one hand, we need to buy fuel but on the other hand, the fuel is not readily available. It is a Catch 22 situation," the hotelier bemoaned.
This flies in the face of government efforts to boost tourism after years of isolation due to a negative perception and toxic relationship with western countries.
Economist and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive Christopher Mugaga said the power outages have a damaging effect on the country's efforts to lure investment.
"The power outages to businesses and households has a very negative impact which probably confirms the negative growth predicted by the IMF and the World Bank," Mugaga said. "The foremost impact is not on the cost but on the uncertainty that this creates," he said.
"This has elevated the country's risk profile due to poor management of the energy sector. It is pushing away the appetite of investment in Zimbabwe."
Source: Power Cuts Cripple Victoria Falls (07/06/19)

Zimbabwe: U.S.$53m Compensation for Displaced Farmers Reconfigured to RTGS$

The US$53 million that was allocated in this year's budget to compensate white farmers, who lost farms during the chaotic land redistribution exercise of 2000, has been reconfigured to RTGS$53 million, and will only be for "interim relief" purposes and not for the actual damages being sought, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.
This interim relief package would translate to about US$10 million on the interbank market introduced in February under a raft of monetary policy reforms.
Under last year's budget, government set aside US$53 million to compensate the affected white farmers, but cash-strapped Harare devalued it into the local currency.
This week, government said 737 former farm owners were eligible to receive "payments" under the "Relief Payment Scheme", with an evaluation exercise on the farms having been finalised last month.
"The registration of former farm owners for the interim relief payment scheme to the distressed former farm owners has been completed, with 737 farmers having been registered for the payments.
"The verification exercise of the registered farmers by the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Settlement has begun and will be completed by 31 May 2019.Payments to the former farm owners will start immediately after the verification exercise," read a statement issued by government this week.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) director Ben Gilpin told the Independent this week that deliberations with government on the actual compensation amount were still ongoing, and that it would likely dwarf resources currently being disbursed under the Relief Payment Scheme.
"Compensation sounds like the liabilities are settled. In reality this is a start and no more. The exercise referred to is for interim relief. The money allocated comes from the US$53 million in last year's budget allocated to pay for improvements made on acquired farms. As a result of dialogue, this money is now denominated in RTGS dollars," Gilpin said.
"The amounts paid now will help mitigate the circumstances of struggling ex-farmers until a substantive agreement and modalities are in place to meet the actual liability which is much greater than this initial relief payment."
Under the Relief Payment Scheme, about 900 applied out of the 3 300 affected farmers on the CFU records.
Each of the eligible candidates for relief payment is earmarked to receive RTGS$55 000, which translates to about US$10 000 on the interbank market introduced in February under a raft of monetary policy reforms.
Gilpin said disbursements under the Relief Payment Scheme are being hampered by "some administrative delays" arising from farms owned by "multiple shareholders."
Source: Zimbabwe: U.S.$53m Compensation for Displaced Farmers Reconfigured to RTGS$ (7/6/19)

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Zimbabwe's Quasi-Currency Continues on Its Precipitous Slide

Zimbabwe’s currency crisis deepened on Tuesday as its quasi-currency, known as the RTGS$, extended its slide against the dollar amid a shortage of hard cash.
The RTGS$, which represents all mobile, electronic and domestic card transactions, reached nine against the greenback, from seven a week ago and three at the beginning of the year. So-called bond notes, introduced by the central bank in 2016 and supposedly backed by hard currency, traded at eight per dollar.
The U.S. dollar, which as been legal tender in Zimbabwe since 2009, has been gaining against RTGS$ and bond notes because traders can’t use them to pay for imports. That forces them to pay a premium for greenbacks.
The result has been crippling fuel shortages, and the re-emergence of black markets for fuel and currency. Adding to Zimbabwe’s woes, the state-owned power utility, Zesa Holdings, is cutting power for as long as 16 hours, three days a week after a drought crippled capacity at its Kariba hydro-power plant.
Large, listed supermarkets, state-owned enterprises like Zesa and listed companies like Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd. price goods at the official exchange rate of about RTGS$5 per dollar. Everywhere else, the black market rate or street rate applies, with retailers offering discounts of as much as 80% for hard currency.
While the official inflation rate was 76% in April, that applies to goods paid for in RTGS$. Dollar prices, by contrast, are declining. The government may step in “aggressively” with measures to correct the divergence between the official RTGS$ exchange rate and the black-market rate, according to Harare-based economist John Robertson.
The measures could include penalties “within days” for banks that keep the official interbank rate low while charging high commissions, he said.