from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – AFRICA’S nominee for the post of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UN-WTO) head, Dr Walter Mzembi, has pledged to use the influential position to promote global peace and unity if elected.
Should the 52-year-old, who is Zimbabwe’s Toursim Minister, secure the post, it will be the first time in the organisation’s 43-year history that an African would head the organisation.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, he said the UN-WTO was the world’s leading international organisation promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, environmental sustainability and inclusive development.
“My vision has always been to use tourism to promote peace, security and social harmony and, if I am appointed, I hope to be able to steer tourism development towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, and ultimately reduce poverty among communities,” said Mzembi.
He pointed out since the establishment of the UN-WTO in 1974, no African had ever become its Secretary General.
Almost all the geographical areas of the world had produced a secretary-general, except Africa, said Mzembi, who added during the 42 years, three secretaries-general had come from Europe, while one each has come from the Americas and Asia.
“I am therefore delighted to be representing my region as the continent’s united candidate.”
A former member of the UN-WTO’s Executive Council, and current chairman of the UN-WTO’s Commission for Africa, Mzembi was instrumental in convening the 20th UN-WTO General Assembly in 2013.
Current Secretary General, Dr Taleb Rifai, described the global conference, which Zambia and Zimbabwe hosted jointly, as the “the best attended ever” in the history of the organisation.
Rifai, a Jordanian national, retires next year.
– CAJ News