Africa’s Wildlife Economy

Natural resources and wildlife are traditionally seen as inputs and not as assets in a national economy. This approach has seen limited government resources being invested in the wildlife economy or allocated to supporting wildlife resources. If this is to change there is a need to illustrate to governments and other stakeholders the economic contribution of wildlife resources to local, national and regional economies. Too little is currently understood about this contribution.


To promote a growing, inclusive, sustainable wildlife economy in Africa

The Wildlife Economy Research Project

This first report provides an overview of the current status of the wildlife economy in Africa, including data from as many African countries as possible with detailed data from selected case study countries. This overview includes:

Information on different wildlife economy activities in Africa, with relevant case studies

List of enabling factors and conditions for success in the development and growth of the wildlife economy in different countries

Overview of the current regulatory frameworks governing the wildlife economy

Other Wildlife Economy Projects

In addition to our overall wildlife economy research project, we are also working on (or have completed) a number of other projects with various partner organisations.

While conducting the research for the State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa report the School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) collected and analysed data from numerous different sources and covering many different wildlife economy topics. This database includes a list of these references to allow for easy searching and locating relevant references for those interested in the wildlife economy in Africa. The database will be updated regularly and we encourage you to also share your own and other resources which we can add to keep the database up-to-date.

Wildlife Economy Investment Ranking (WEIR)

The overarching objectives of this project are:

  • To develop a Wildlife Economy Investment Ranking, based on relevant wildlife economy indicators, in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

  • To create a sense of competition between countries to improve their ranking, through improving their enabling environment, ease of doing business, governance, and investing in wildlife.

  • Where possible, through the rankings, provide recommendations for policy and practice to unlock the potential of the wildlife economy.

  • To raise the profile of the wildlife economy and to highlight the importance of seeing wildlife as an asset in which to invest.

  • To create buzz and stimulate discussion around the African Wildlife Economy, we will officially launch the ranking and disclose the first results at the Business of Conservation Conference 2022, to be followed by a short update report at the BCC every year. The reports will provide an overall analysis, as well as recommendations for policy and practice and guidance for countries to improve their ranking.
  • The “Big 5” wildlife economy activities that we focus on in our research are;

    Upcoming Case Study Countries in 2021 & 2022

    Facts and figures

    Sources: Kitshoff-Botha, 2020; KNBS, 2019; KWS, 2019; Laube, 2015; Mohammed & Al-hassan (2013); PSGE, 2021; Timko et al., 2010

    The Team


    We use ALU Students as interns to help us with the research, click here to view the full list of Research Interns.


    We will continue to update this section as the School of Wildlife Conservation publishes peer-reviewed articles, blogs, infographics, fact sheets and other policy relevant information

    What is our Research Policy?


    To become leaders in terms of promoting, supporting and facilitating policy- and practice- relevant research on the business of conservation in Africa, including specifically research on Africa’s wildlife economy.

    Scope of the Policy

    This policy applies to all those conducting research through ALU’s SOWC, irrespective of the source of their funding or the field in which they conduct their research or the site where the research is conducted. The policy provides structure and establishes a framework within which the African Leadership University (ALU) will support, facilitate and promote policy-relevant research through the School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC).

    Overall objective of the SOWC research programme

    To promote a growing, inclusive, sustainable wildlife economy in Africa

    If you would like to contribute data, a text box, case study or would like further information, please contact Sue Snyman.