Zimbabwe’s aviation industry is in a bit of a predicament, a culmination of decades of mismanagement and neglect. It’s a sector that is a key driver of any economy insofar as it generates economic growth, creates jobs, and facilitates international trade and tourism.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss, among other issues, the release of US$196 million in revenue owed to airlines by the country.
The director-general of IATA, Alexandre du Juniac, met Mnangagwa in Harare on Tuesday and told him that Zimbabwe’s trade and tourism were at risk over the debt.
“Aviation is a key contributor to the prosperity of this country. But funds from the sale of air tickets in Zimbabwe cannot currently be repatriated to airlines. It will be negative for business, trade and tourism if airlines are forced to reduce their service to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Zimbabwe has started experiencing shortage of imported commodities after it emerged that several local banks have failed to honor letters of credit (LCs) to foreign banks in trade finance deals, amid heightened fears the troubled country could see many products disappearing from shop shelves.
“But it was clear from our fruitful meeting that we are united in our commitment to finding an appropriate solution that will address this and support Zimbabwe’s economic development.” He added.