Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zambian government has called for greater co-operation with its neighbour, Zimbabwe as the two forge ahead to attain the status of being the region’s tourism hub.
Speaking at the Kavango-Zambezi (Kaza) Uni-Visa programme Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) signing between the two countries, Zambian Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo said there were common challenges that both countries faced, which can only be solved through an alliance focused on wealth creation.
“The realisation of our vision requires taking into account the bigger picture rather than focusing on the narrow view. We have to move from profit maximisation to wealth creation and as government we call upon all stakeholders to focus on this so as to create more opportunities,” said Minister Kampyongo.
He said the signing of the MoU was an indication of close ties which existed between the two countries.
“This MoU is in our quest of formalising and taking into account interests of our two countries. We should remain committed to easing movement of people across our borders as this also helps in reduced transit times and thus promoting competitiveness for sustainable socio and economic development,” he said.
Zambia is Zimbabwe’s second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa.
Zimbabwe and Zambia have been likened in the past by leaders of the two countries as Siamese twins because of the historical ties that exist between the two neighbouring countries.
The two countries share long-standing historical ties, having been part of the pre-independence Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland when Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia, Zambia as Northern Rhodesia and Malawi as Nyasaland.
Zambia also assisted Zimbabwe’s nationalists movements in the fight against colonial bondage.
Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2012 took an important step to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation to jointly construct a 1 650 megawatt hydro-power station at Batoka Gorge that was estimated to cost over US$4 billion.
In 2013 the two countries co-hosted the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit after winning the bid to host one of tourism’s biggest events being the second African country after Senegal to play hosts.
Still on tourism, Zimbabwe and Zambia share one of the world’s seven wonders, the Victoria Falls. Tourists travel to Victoria Falls and Livingstone to view the falls.
To further augment the tourism ties, the two countries introduced the uni-visa system in November 2014 which also enables joint marketing as Zimbabwe and Zambia make initiatives to boost tourist arrivals.