Conservation in Africa today faces huge challenges. A rapidly rising human population – by 2100 Africa’s population may have quadrupled – coupled with infrastructure development and rising levels of consumption will make it even more challenging to find room for wildlife. Harmony is yet to be found between the current pace of social and economic transformation and the conservation of Africa’s extraordinary wildlife and wild landscapes.
Thankfully, there are models that are working. Business and operating models of successful initiatives in Africa may differ, but they all rely on the same two pillars.
First is a realization that conservation only thrives when it provides economic benefits to people. This is true worldwide, but it is especially so in Africa, with extremely high poverty levels and rapid population growth. To survive, Africa’s wildlife must be an economic asset that gives value to local communities and countries. Countries like Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and more recently Chad, Malawi and Benin demonstrate what can happen when people gain economic benefits from conservation: wildlife populations rebound and habitat is protected.
Second is that leadership matters. In Africa, where institutions are weak, leadership and management have a greater impact on conservation outcomes than elsewhere in the world. The success of a new generation of African conservation organizations and of countries like Rwanda and Botswana exemplify the potential impact of top leadership talent and good management practices on conservation.
At BCC you have an opportunity to engage with today’s most innovative conservation work and to hear first-hand about successful models and emerging opportunities.
BCC is a platform for new conversations about applying these principles across African conservation while adapting entrepreneurial energy and vision to its different models.