Welcome to BCC Community Connect 2021

September 22-23, 2021

An engaging virtual experience where business meets conservation

Building Resilient Wildlife Economies

The way we do everything now has changed, including how we convene. The Business of Conservation Conference is back this year and it will not just be your regular conservation talkshop. BCC2021 will be interactive and engaging, allowing time to reconnect with all those that we have lost touch with over the past unusual year .

This year, BCC is different. It's about maintaining the momentum, it's about building connections to build the conservation sector forward better. It's about loosening your tie, rolling up your sleeves, kicking the high heels off and getting down to play, learn and connect. We guarantee that BCC Community Connect is not a talkshop. You will learn, you will play, you will build new professional relationships but you will also leave with inspiration and ideas to create a more resilient sector. The conference is guided by the question: how can we make the conservation sector more resilient?

It is more evident than ever that conservation needs to adopt more resilient and sustainable models that approach wildlife and habitats as a growth opportunity for African development. Understanding the importance of valuing wildlife and investing in it is discussed in our State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa Report. BCC 2021 will explore the nuances of the wildlife economy in Africa and the report provides the background to our discussion. The Report, or parts relevant to you, are recommended as a pre-read for the meeting and it is readily available below:

Who Should Attend?

This conference is for you if...

  • You’re passionate about conservation

  • You are willing to be creative and innovative

  • You want to make a difference in Africa

  • You're not afraid to challenge the status quo

  • You love sharing knowledge

  • You can learn and play at the same time
  • The following broad categories of people are specifically encouraged to participate:

    Top African CEOs

    Policy Makers

    Heads of State

    Global technologists




    Innovative conservationists

    Leaders of conservation businesses

    Academia and Research


    ...and more.

    Get ready to find innovative ways to solve the resilience challenge

    The Business of Conservation Conference (BCC) is an invitation-only inspiring, powerful convening of top leaders from a diverse array of sectors committed to reframing conservation as a growth sector by attracting top talent, applying financially sustainable models and creating enabling socio-political environments for increased investment in the sector.

    Meeting Objectives/Principles

    Focus on leadership/management:
    In Africa, where institutions are weak, leaders have much more power to effect change than in other parts of the world. Given this leverage, the BCC has the potential to be more impactful than convenings like Davos, Milken, etc. Tapping into almost 2 decades of experience developing world-class leaders.

    Strong application of business principles:
    To redefine nature as a great pillar of economic growth--for the benefit of Africans, conservation leaders must begin to apply business thinking to their projects/organizations and invent business models that leverage Africa’s unique competitive advantage--its biodiversity--to drive sustainable economic development in Africa. The BCC team will seek and showcase models that exemplify these principles.

    Make Conservation “sexy” to the mainstream and the next generation:
    Given the continent's demographics (the average age of an African is 19.5), conservation needs to become more relevant to youth and women. It needs to also become more relevant to governments, businesses, and communities. The conference will host younger, talented Africans; showcase more women in the sector; and spotlight wildlife-dependent businesses beyond tourism from across the continent . We need to change the narrative and engender new champions for conservation so that it is seen as attractive and important to the future of Africa and the world.

    Value to Participants

    Connect, connect, connect: Connect with different members of the conservation community and beyond and build solid relationships and partnerships.

    Expand your knowledge:
    Have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the state of the wildlife economy in Africa and the great opportunities there are for wildlife economies to contribute to local and national economies.

    Be inspired:
    Inspired by the work that is being done by different individuals within the conservation community.

    BCC2021 will have something for everyone including:

    Networking opportunities

    Investment opportunities

    Exposure to new innovative ideas in conservation from fellow attendees through formal and informal sessions

    Facilitated sessions for sharing best practices

    Safe, fun space to explore out-of-the-box ideas

    Cutting edge information about the wildlife economy, leadership, management, and business principles for the conservation sector

    Past BCC highlights

    BCC 2018
    Investing in one of the Africa's greatest assets

    BCC 2019
    Environmental Investing: From Scarcity to Abundance

    BCC 2021 Agenda

    WEDNESDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER | Day 1, Shared Awareness
    Reconnect with the BCC Community and Reflect on the current state of the African Wildlife Economy

    The conference will open with welcome remarks from representatives of the Government of Rwanda including Mr. Zephanie Niyonkuru and the CEO/Founder of the African Leadership Group and the ALU School of Wildlife Conservation, Fred Swaniker.

    A fun and interactive session where you will get to connect with the conservation community through a ‘speed dating’ activity. Community Connect is an opportunity to network & connect with like-minded leaders, and learn about the African Wildlife Economy from a shared perspective.

    Seminal Discussions are a facilitated session where groups engage in a discussion about the State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa,  discuss some of the insights gained from the full Wildlife Economy and the Roadmap for Africa’s Wildlife Economy reports, and collectively design a solution for building resilient wildlife economies.

    Join us for a round of parallel sessions to discuss hot topics in the conservation sector that have the potential to impact on the resilience of Africa’s Wildlife Economy. 


    Breakout Room 1: Gamifying Nature Conservation

    Could games and gamification help reach new audiences and build a new community of millions who feel engaged in conservation? This session is led by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Internet of Elephants and will seek to answer this question and discuss ways to generate new revenue streams for conservation by monetising wildlife data.

    Speakers: Adrian Dellecker – Director of Strategy, Luc Hoffmann Institute, Maike Gericke – Co-Founder and President, Scrypt.Media

    Facilitator: Leonie Brown – Project Manager, Luc Hoffmann Institute


    Business of Conservation Conference: Hot Topics

    • Breakout Room 2: Circular Economy and biodiversity

    Circular economy is now a buzz word but what does it really entail? Join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to engage on practical ways the circular economy can play a fundamental role in helping halt and reverse global biodiversity loss.

    Speakers: Soukeyna Gueye – Project Manager Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Reinera O’Donnell, Education Lead – Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Eben de Jongh – Founder, Sonke.

    • Breakout Room 3: Rangeland carbon – the new kid on the block! 

    Marketable rangeland carbon is still in its infancy but is quickly gaining significant interest. This session will provide an overview of the approach, methods and opportunities this presents to the African continent.

    Speakers: Mark Ritchie – President and Founder, Soils for the Future

    Facilitator: Christiner Ender – Regional Climate Change Director, Africa Conservation International.

    • Breakout room 4: Technical innovations for engagement and enrichment

    We are currently in an era where very little of our daily lives are not impacted—directly or indirectly— by technology. Integrations and the interoperability of technological systems, services and advancements in earth observation, the onset of the Internet of Things, distributed ledgers and our mobile devices hold a rich potential to transform the way we deal with environmental challenges. Never has there been such innovation and enabling factors as we now experience to help us better understand our world and the natural resources we rely on, and how we as humans could better engage as custodians. ‘Digital Transformation’, ‘Disruption’ and ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution’ are terms so often bandied about, but what do these mean? More importantly, what do they mean for the wildlife economy?

    Speakers: David Gadsden- Director of Conservation Solutions ESRI,  Stephen Peedell, Senior Scientific Officer, EC-JRC BIOPAMA

    Facilitator: Craig Beech, Founder, Conservation with Technology.


    usiness of Conservation Conference: Hot Topics

    • Breakout room 5: Sustainable financing for conservation in Africa

    How can we unlock the wildlife economy to promote sustainable financing for conservation in Africa? This session will look at this as well as include discussions on other innovative funding and financing options for marine and terrestrial conservation.

    Speakers: Patience Gandiwa– Director-TFCAs & Conventions, ZimParks, Angelique Pouponneau – Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust

    Facilitator: Candice Stevens, Wilderness Foundation Africa

    • Breakout room 6: Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda

    This session will give key insights into the development of the new Dian Fossey campus, including looking at the sustainability of the campus, the importance of collaboration and partnerships and the potential positive impact on conservation.

    Speakers: Prosper Uwingeli- Chief Park Warden, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda; Dr Beth Kaplin – Director, Center of Excellence in Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management, University of Rwanda; Laban Kayitete – Research Assistant, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund; Joe Christa Giraso – Site Landscape Architect, MASS Build; Gabriel Nyirijuru – Filmmaker, MASS Media, 

    Facilitator: Felix Ndagijimana – Country Director, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.


    • Breakout room 7: Communities and the wildlife economy

    This important hot topic session will look at the role of local communities in the wildlife economy and how they can be empowered to engage in, and benefit from, the wildlife economy. Lessons learned from 15 years of the Rwanda Tourism Revenue Sharing programme will be presented, as well as community conservancy examples from Kenya, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

    Speakers:  Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, MIHARI; Prosper Uwingeli, Rwanda Development Board; Benjamin Mugabukomeye, International Gorilla Conservation Program; Dickson Kaelo, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association; Dr Collen Matema, African Wildlife Foundation Zimbabwe

    Facilitator: Kathleen Fitzgerald – Partner, Conservation Capital


    Business of Conservation Conference: Hot Topics

    • Breakout room 8: Innovations in Conservation Enterprise

    Innovative conservation enterprises across Africa are attracting new funding, generating new employment opportunities, and promoting conservation through responsible management and use. In this session, we explore a few innovations and consider whether these are sustainable, scalable, and replicable, such as wildlife-friendly enterprises and market-based schemes to pay for ecosystem services. 

    Speakers: Marissa Balfour – Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network; Mariana Prieto – WildAid; David Gardner Inhlabathi Investments. Olivier Behra – L’Homme et l’Environment

    Facilitator: Dr Francis Vorhies – ALU School of Wildlife Conservation

    • Breakout room 9: COVID and the impact on the wildlife economy: lessons learned

    This hot topic session will bring together key experts to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on wildlife economy activities, such as tourism, as well as the impacts on conservation in relation to this.  The importance of collaboration, sharing learnings and lessons from previous shocks, such as Ebola, and the need for innovation will also be discussed.    

    Speakers: Eugene Mutangana, Rwanda Development Board; 

    John Makombo, Uganda Wildlife Authority; Rob Grave, Conservation International.

    Facilitator: Edwin Tambara, Director, Global Leadership, African 

    Wildlife Foundation

    • Breakout room 10: BUILDING FORWARD BETTER Towards a Carbon Neutral, Equitable and Nature Positive Africa

    Although the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly presents one of the most significant challenges to humanity over the last century, our anticipated recovery has opened a unique window of opportunity. This interactive session, presented by WWF, the Boston Consulting Group, in association with the East Africa Community, will debate a recent analysis of concrete economic and business opportunities arising from policies and investments in green and equitable development that will set the continent on a path to ‘Building Forward Better’.

    Speakers: Alice Ruhweza – Africa Region Director, World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Pia Carona – Principal, Boston Consulting Group(BCG), Simon Kiari– East African Community (TBC).

    Facilitator: Jackson Kiplagat – Acting Conservation Manager, WWF Kenya


    An opportunity for reflection on learnings from the day, connect them with the objectives of the day and the theme of the conference.

    THURSDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER | Day 2, Collective Impact
    Reimagine what the possibilities might be and recommit to being an active participant in driving the African Wildlife Economy

    Connect with members of the conservation community by sharing conference highlights, reflect on learnings from the previous day through a fun kahoot quiz, and align our focus for the day

    Dive deeper into building resilient wildlife economies by choosing one of several parallel sessions on the Big 5 Wildlife Economy Activities including:

    • EcotourismHow to unlock regional and domestic tourism in Africa

    Speakers: Ariella Kageruka, Acting Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board and Dr Carmen Nibigira– Tourism Policy Analyst,GIZ, Rwanda 

    Facilitator: Mercedes Bailey– Co-Founder, FranklyBailey, South Africa

    • Hunting  –  Moving beyond polarized perspectives on trophy hunting; knowns and unknowns on the role of hunting / Building the evidence base

    Speakers: Maxi Pia Louis (The Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations), Vernon Booth – Wildlife Management Consultant, Zimbabwe; Dr Hayley Clements – Centre for Sustainability Transition, South Africa

    Facilitator: Dr Amy Dickman, Associate Director, WildCRU, University of Oxford

    • Carbon Market – organised by Conservation International. Carbon finance opportunity of nature-based solutions; an investor’s perspective and government and REDD+ nesting and why it is important 

    Speakers:  Alfred Gichu (Ministry of Environment & Forestry, Kenya), Jo Anderson – Founder and Director, Carbon Tanzania, Ed Hewitt- Director of Natural Climate Solutions, Respira 

    Facilitator: Christina Ender – Regional Climate Change Director, Conservation International.

    • Forest Products: The value of forest products, the challenges with them and the opportunities available in terms of growing this sector

    Speakers: Dr Donald Midoko Iponga- Director, Institut de Recherche en Ecologie Tropicale(IRET), Gabon

    Facilitator: Daudi Sumba, Independent Consultant

    • Wildlife Ranching: ‘Game meat’ and the ‘Interface of Science and Business’   Speakers: Chanda Mwale – Operations Manager, Wildlife Producers’ Association of Zambia, Zambia, Mike Gcabo – African Game Ranchers Association, South Africa

    Facilitator: Dr Frank Vorhies, School of Wildlife Conservation, ALU

    Engage with the panelists through interactive design workshops and panel discussions

    The African Leadership University Incubator Programme Fellows will be showcasing their ventures and ideas within wildlife conservation, with a goal of connecting with potential investors and mentors. SOWC launched an Incubator programme designed to support high-potential entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for sustainable conservation ventures. In this first cohort, the incubator is focused on entrepreneurs in the idea-stage with innovative ideas for generating income in the wildlife and conservation sector beyond tourism

    An uplifting performance from ALU students, an update on the School of Wildlife Conservation wildlife economy research outputs and upcoming projects, followed by an exciting and inspiring Fireside Chat with surprise guest speakers. Engage in a closing reflection on the two-day experience, and commit to a practice that you can apply to your own organization or policies. We will then end with a vibrant virtual party.


    We will then end with a vibrant virtual party. Join the rest of the BCC community to connect in this optional session. There will be music, dance and games.