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

The aim of our research is to gather data and information to illustrate the value of wildlife to economies and through this to encourage investment in this important economic asset.  The research process will also highlight data gaps and encourage the collection of data related to wildlife economies in order to better understand the vast contribution of wildlife resources to national economies. The initial research will be pulled together in a report on the State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa.


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

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Information on different wildlife

economy options in Africa, with

relevant case studies  

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List of enabling factors and

conditions for success in the development

and growth of the wildlife economy in

different countries 

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Overview of the current regulatory

frameworks governing the

wildlife economy

Case Study Countries

Facts and figures

Size of the wildlife sector in South Africa (2013/4 figures)

The wildlife industry  value chain is centred on game and wildlife farming/ranching activities that relate  to the stocking, trading, breeding, and  hunting of game, and all the services and goods  required to support  this value chain (photographic tourism is excluded here).

The Wildlife sector in South Africa has been growing consistently faster than the general economy  (SOURCE: BES & Four Sectors Report (DEA)


Wildlife tourism in Africa contributed USD 23.9 billion to GDP and created 3.6 million direct jobs. (WTTC (2019) report in 2018).

FAO estimates that 1 billion people globally depend on wild foods, and that an estimated 80% of the population of the developing world use non-timber forest products  to meet some of their health and nutritional needs

The economic value of gorilla tourism in Uganda is estimated at up to US$34.3 million and has led to policy that supports conservation and ecotourism (Moyini and B. Uwimbabazi, n.d).

The status and potential of the “Big 5” wildlife economy activities

The activities that will be focused on in this first report include:

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Hunting & Fishing

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Carbon Market

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Forest Products

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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

More Information

Click below to read the concept note which outlines the context, justification and process for the development of the report

Following on from an expert meeting, consultations with stakeholders and a literature review, the draft table of contents was developed.  As data collection and analysis continues, some details in the contents may change, but the overall chapter structure of the report will remain the same.  

The Team

Dr. Sue Snyman (lead)
Dr. Francis Vorhies
Daudi Samuel Sumba
Elizabeth Gitari


Jean Damascene Uwingeneye
Lucky John Mbikeshimana
Alice Mukashyaka
Maxim Dopavogui


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 

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