Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Harare, June 25 : Zimbabwe is sitting on $600 million ivory and rhino horn stockpiles following ban on hunting and trading of such products, the country's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

He said the ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was depriving the country of financial resources that it could use to support conservation of wildlife and natural resources for the next 20 years, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.

"We are gravely concerned by one-size-fits-all approach where banning of trade is creeping into the CITES decision-making processes," Mnangagwa said while opening the African Union and UN Wildlife Economy Summit in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Monday.

"We call upon the institution to resist the temptation of being a 'policing institution' and instead be developmental one that promotes the intricate balance between conservation and sustainable use of wildlife resources," he said.

The President said most of the 600 million ivory and rhino horn stockpile was from natural attrition of the animals.

The summit was attended by the Presidents of Botswana, Zambia and Namibia as well as wildlife ministers from different countries.

Mnangagwa said Southern Africa was home to 50 per cent of Africa's elephants, which was testimony of the region's success in wildlife conservation.

He also reaffirmed Zimbabwe's commitment to fighting wildlife poaching, saying the country was strengthening its law enforcement to combat both internal and cross-border wildlife crime.

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