Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has hailed institutions of higher learning for competing in debates which stimulate critical thinking on decision-making, especially on efforts towards achieving an upper middle income economy by 2030.
In a speech read on her behalf by Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira during the launch of Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism (ZYT) debate competitions at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU)’s Robert Mugabe School of Education on Friday last week, Amai Mnangagwa said debate competitions stimulated critical thinking.
She urged the relevant ministry to capture notes for onward use of the deliberations during policy formulation.
The inaugural competitions which saw more than 17 institutions of higher learning participating, were held under the theme, “Towards Economic Transformation — Product, Positioning, People, Partnership: Making Vision 2030 A Reality”.
“The debate is befittingly held at a time our country is pursuing an aggressive process of branding itself in order to attract tourists and investors as we strive to fulfil our national vision of becoming an upper middle class economy by 2030,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
“Debates are important in that they improve intellectual capacities and decision-making. This can be through stimulating critical and logical thinking, improved balanced and informed development alternatives and using researches, reasoning and evidence-based persuasions and engagements.”
Amai Mnangagwa commended youths in tourism for initiating such a noble way of promoting tourism in the country through engaging institutions of higher learning, but also challenged the organisation to cascade the debates to primary and secondary schools.
“May the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education take a leaf from the tertiary institutions participating today,” she said. “Young people are our future leaders. We have an obligation to build their leadership capacities and appreciation of national ethos through creating an enabling environment for their involvement and participation.
“I would like to urge the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to consider issues arising from these debates in the planning and implementation of tourism policies, projects and programmes.”
Amai Mnangagwa commended the Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism for bringing together many stakeholders, as national development called for the participation and involvement of everyone.
“I, therefore, commend the holistic approach adopted by the Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism which has brought on board universities, colleges, Government ministries, media, civil society and young people,” she said.
“Indeed, the youth in our universities and other institutions they are coming from, are pivotal to the attainment of Vision 2030.
“Zimbabwe has a desire in the tourism and environment sector to tap on the demographic dividend of our youthful population which constitute over 68 percent of our population. I see the youth as brand ambassadors and promote the country as a safe tourist, business and investment destination.”
Amai Mnangagwa said the country was endowed with diverse cultural and traditional treasures as evidenced by the cultural trade fair recently held in Harare.
“I recently invited all provinces to Harare to showcase cultural diversity,” she said.
“I was humbled by the enormous support through exhibitions and participation of all the provinces. Masvingo had biggest representation.”
The First Lady, who is also Ministry of Health and Child Care national ambassador, urged students to concentrate more on being practical in approach.
“I urge you to take necessary steps to educate, train and equip yourselves to be part of the industrialised future, respond to the demands of the market,” she said