Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North provinces are in line for a revamp after Zhejiang Province of China entered into a sister-city agreement to promote socio-economic and cultural ties.
The move expected to turn the two provinces into tourism hubs will also see Victoria Falls City being twinned with Jinhua City of China in line with government’s development agenda of leave no one behind.
Zhejiang, a province in eastern China, encompasses a rural interior and urban centers along the East China Sea.
Education development, sanitation and environment, tourism and cultural exchange, are among the main thrust of the twinning arrangements.
Speaking during a welcome reception for the Chinese delegation at a Harare hotel Tuesday evening, Mnangagwa said the benefits from the town twinning arrangement, in terms of cultural understanding, friendship, tourism and promotion of educational exchanges, would be enormous.
“I am therefore delighted that Zhezhiang Province’s interest in our country has extended beyond investing in the traditional urban areas. The twinning of Zhezhiang Province with our provinces will go a long way towards expediting the development of all areas of our country,” Mnangagwa said.
He added that the twinning arrangement was yet another welcome endorsement and recognition of Zimbabwe as a safe and must visit destination.
“The twinning initiative is expected to avail vast opportunities for the people, the town, Matabeleland North province and the country at large,” he said.
Mnangagwa said he was convinced that the partnership was going to bring tremendous development to the two cities.
“The wildlife of the province also provides viable investment prospects,” he said, before imploring investors to take advantage of the vast tourism opportunities obtaining in the country.
“In the same vein, we commend the interest shown by Zhejiang Province to cooperate with Mashonaland West Province. The province hosts a wide array of tourist attractions such as Kariba Resort, Mana Pools, Chinhoyi Caves and National parks, among others.”
Mnangagwa added that Government has put in place appropriate institutional, legislative and policy framework as well as an enabling environment to ensure the success and growth of all investments.
The delegation was led by HE Ms Ge Huijun chairwoman of Zhejiang Provincial Committee the Chinese People’s Political Conservative Conference who pledged to do everything to strengthen and sustain the ties on the path of growth.
The delegation will use the opportunity to visit Chinhoyi Caves, Victoria Falls and the National Heroes Acre and has already visited Epworth’s balancing rocks.
Tuesday’s meeting is set to be followed by the twinning of Victoria Falls City with Jinhua City of China with the letters of intent set to be signed today in Victoria Falls.
The twinning initiatives follows a MoU signed between Touchroad International Holdings Group and Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality, during Mnangagwa’s state visit to China in 2018.
It also comes as the tourism sector has received international recognition and endorsement which saw Zimbabwe being nominated as the third Best in Travel in the World.
Zimbabwe is also riding high after being named the sustainable destination of the year during the recent ITB Travel Show.
Last year the sector contributed $1, 3 billion to the fiscus and the sector is aiming to attain $1,5 billion.
Sister cities or twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.