Zim, France partner to rehabilitate Great Zim World Heritage site

By Vivian Bangamu

THE GOVERNMENT of Zimbabwe, together with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French Public Development Institution, will launch a EUR-3-million project for the rehabilitation and development of the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage site in Masvingo Province this Thursday, June 30.

The project will be launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site, with His Excellency, Mr. Laurent Chevallier, the French Ambassador to Zimbabwe in attendance.

It aims to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism development by improving the conservation of the world heritage site and strengthening national capacities to manage the site while promoting interlinkages with the local economy.

A cultural hub will be setup to promote the Shona culture and preserve the cultural heritage of Zimbabwe.

The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) together with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will implement the three-year project.

Other national partners include the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MOETHI), the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the Great Zimbabwe Board, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Masvingo Rural District Council (RDC) and the National Parks and Wildlife Authority Management.

The collaboration between UNOPS and NMMZ and seven other partners will guarantee that the project preserves and safeguards the cultural heritage, ensuring that future generations will get to see the world heritage site with its glory intact.

Great Zimbabwe was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and it is the largest dry-stone structure in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site represents one of the most spectacular architectural and cultural landscapes in Africa, with the potential to create employment; economic growth and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for Zimbabwe.

The French Ambassador, Mr. Laurent Chevallier expressed the high regard with which his country holds cultural heritage and its preservation.

Cultural heritage strengthens local identity and can be a key lever for growth and development.

The funding for the rehabilitation and development of the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage site is in line with the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025) under tourism, where the country seeks to look beyond traditional tourism to invest in alternative forms, and places of tourism.

Masvingo Province also has many other local attractions namely: Chamavara caves; Lake Mutirikwi and Sikalo Lion Park, which will give tourists a diverse experience package when packaged together with the World Heritage site Great Zimbabwe.