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Friday 30 June 2023

African Sun Hotels donates US$21K to a conservation organisation in Victoria Falls

The African Sun Hotels group has donated US$21 000 to The Victoria Falls Anti- Poaching Unit, a non-profit wildlife organisation to cover salaries and medical aid for game scouts.

During the handover ceremony held in Victoria Falls today, African Sun Hotels’ head Marketing, Public Relations and Innovation Charleen Mtezo said this is part of their Corporate Social Responsibility in order to fulfill and meaningfully impact the communities in which they operate, as well as contribute towards the achievement of the United Nations agenda 2030 for strategic development goals.

“The town of Victoria Falls is located in one of the most beautiful environments,” she said.

“However, the beauty of the location comes with some heavy burden of human and wildlife conflict. The Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit tries to ease some of the burdens by protecting the wildlife and habitat from poachers, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals.

Additionally, they train ex- poachers in new skills so they find alternative avenues of revenue creation to give them a sustainable income without doing harm to flora and fauna. It is against this background that the African Sun Limited, we saw fit for us to assist the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit, so that they are able to carry out the challenging tasks at hand.”

She said the donation of will cover salaries, medical aid for scouts for a period of 12 months.

“l wish to invite other corporations to join us safeguard our precious environment and transform the lives of our communities. Lastly, I applaud those who are already on the ground doing the same.”

Source: African Sun Hotels donates US$21K to a conservation organisation in Victoria Falls (30/06/23)

Call to harmonise Victoria Falls Rainforest entry fees

ZIMBABWE should review and harmonise entry fees charged to foreign visitors that want to tour the Victoria Falls Rainforest, which some stakeholders feel are discriminatory and negate efforts towards regional integration.

Speaking during a recent 9th edition of the Africa Public Service Day commemorations here, delegates complained about the uneven entry fees.

The new fees schedule effected in April by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which manages the Victoria Falls National Park in which the Rainforest and the world natural wonder are located, demands locals to pay US$7 per person while Sadc and international clients pay US$30 and US$50 respectively.

Delegates to the APSD meeting who were drawn from different African Union member states said Africa’s Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’ will not be achieved if Africans fail to treat each other as equals and love their continent.

They were speaking after touring the Rainforest and implored responsible authorities to charge a uniform fee to all Africans regardless of country of origin or region. Delegates said Africa has the potential to launch its growth and Africans should be proud of their identity instead of identifying themselves in terms of individual countries or regions.

The conference, which sought to find solutions to challenges that affect equity, inclusivity, environment, climate change and economic growth, resolved that issues such as different entry fees into the Rainforest were indicators of failure to unite the continent.

It noted that resolving such issues was critical, especially at a time when the region is implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to create a single continental market with a population of about 1,3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of approximately US$3,4 trillion.

The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects under Agenda 2063 and seeks to boost trade in value-added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.

As such, delegates said the entry fees disparity was one of the issues that need to be addressed if the continent is to achieve its set targets. “We went to the Victoria Falls and some were made to pay US$50 because they are international and some were charged US$30 because they are Sadc,” said one of the participants.

“Because of that, we started seeing ourselves as different people. These are some of the things that make us fail to be united, we look at each other as people who are not from the same motherland.” Another delegate had earlier raised the same issue during plenary saying the entry fees were a reflection of lack of unity among Africans. Delegates said the future of Africa calls for futuristic thinking.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima who was guest speaker on behalf of President Mnangagwa, said it was imperative for AU member states to follow the principles of the continent’s founding fathers.

Source: Call to harmonise Victoria Falls Rainforest entry fees (29/06/23)

Friday 16 June 2023

Zambia looks to cancel $5 billion Batoka Gorge HES project

- Zambia cancels a building contract for a 2,400-megawatt power station on the Zambezi River due to high costs and failure to follow proper procurement procedures. 

- Zambia’s energy minister suggests exploring a hybrid solution combining solar and hydropower, indicating a potential reduction in capacity to around 1,000 megawatts. 

- General Electric and PowerChina remain silent as Zambia seeks to re-advertise the project and address setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and financing challenges.

Zambia has disclosed that it will cancel a building contract given to General Electric Co. and Power Building Corp. of China because the project to build a 2,400-megawatt power station on the Zambezi River is too expensive.

In remarks aired late Tuesday on the state-run Zambia National Broadcasting Corp., and reported by the American news agency, Bloomberg, Zambia's energy minister, Peter Kapala, noted that proper procurement procedures weren't followed when the purchase was made. The dam's development is overseen by the state-run Zambezi River Authority, which predicted last year that the project would cost $5 billion.

“We are disengaging from that contract and we hope to re-advertise it and revisit everything that was agreed to before. Mainly, it was because of the cost, it was just too much,” said Kapala.

“The latest information is that the hydrology of Zambezi might not favor the establishment of a 2,400-megawatt hydro-plant,” the energy minister said.

“We could reach that if maybe we do a hybrid of solar and hydro itself, but the indications are that we could be looking at far much less than the 2,400, it could be maybe even 1,000 megawatts,” he added.

General Electric declined to respond right away. An email sent outside of regular business hours seeking comment did not immediately receive a response from PowerChina.

The 2,400-megawatt Batoka Gorge project was supposed to get going in 2020, however, there were a number of setbacks, including the coronavirus epidemic and problems obtaining finance.

General Electric and Power China were chosen to construct the facility jointly by Zambia and Zimbabwe. Both countries in southern Africa are experiencing an electrical shortfall as a result of poorly maintained plants and drought-related production reductions at existing hydroelectric facilities on the Zambezi River.

The secretary for energy and power development in Zimbabwe, Gloria Magombo, stated on Wednesday that she was not aware of the statements made by the minister of Zambia and that the ministry will reply later.

Source: Zambia cancels $5 billion project with China (16/06/23)