Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Visiting UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has pledged to use his links to promote Zimbabwe as an investment destination and said the country’s economic situation could be overcome using its abundant natural resources.
Ceferin said this when he paid a courtesy call on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo at his Munhumutapa Offices yesterday.
He has been in the country with his family on a 10-day vacation that has seen him visit the Victoria Falls, Hwange, Great Zimbabwe and the Eastern Highlands.
“Our organisation is connected to a majority of big companies doing business in Europe, doing different other things,” said Ceferin.
“We are ready to help, to promote you and we will connect again with you when we know more (about the country).
“Our conclusion, although we have been here for 10 days, is that you have everything in front of you. But we are ready to help as much as we can.”
Ceferin said he enjoyed his visit here, despite the negative advice he received before he came.
“First of all, we loved our visit to Zimbabwe,” he said. “Many people said to me ‘why are you going there?’ ‘There is nothing, even water is missing now’.
“I must say, I have seen friendly people. I have seen wide good infrastructure, the hotels (though) they could of course use some improvement and everyone is crazy about football. (There) is also fantastic environment, fantastic flora and fauna and when we return we will promote your country.”
Minister Moyo thanked Ceferin for choosing a vacation in Zimbabwe.
“It was very important, having chosen Zimbabwe as a destination for your holiday and we hope that you will be our ambassador when you return to Europe so that all that is being said about Zimbabwe is what you will have experienced and not what is on the Internet,” he said.
“This is why we are so excited about your coming and it will be very good also that we capitalise on other areas of cooperation which could be on the development of sport tourism in Zimbabwe. We think we can also facilitate international trade with international clubs, particularly from Europe, which could also visit Zimbabwe.”
Minister Moyo said there were various investment opportunities
that Caferin, in his individual capacity, could exploit.
“It is our desire that whilst you have come here as a tourist to enjoy yourself, you could have also identified areas of investment,” he said. “Firstly, in the area of tourism which could be enhanced and to which you are always welcome.
“As we say, Zimbabwe is open for business, as has been our mantra. So you and your family can come and develop the tourism sector in this country.
“But not only are we confined to the tourism sector, the opportunities are also abundant in agriculture, the mining sector where we have all the minerals except black gold (oil).”
Minister Moyo said opportunities existed in the manufacturing sector too.
Caferin is among a number of high-profile world celebrities and leaders who flocked to Zimbabwe, and to Victoria Falls in particular, during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Hollywood celebrity couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones recently visited the premier tourist attraction.