Many communities across Africa rely on tourism to generate income and other benefits from wildlife on their land. However, all forms of tourism, including photographic tourism and trophy hunting, are extremely vulnerable to social, economic or political instability and changes in the international market.
For wildlife to survive on communal lands, communities that manage the land or live in close proximity to wildlife have to derive tangible benefits. Over the past 30 years, different forms of tourism have provided significant benefits, including revenues, to rural communities who share their land with wildlife. This income has enabled these communities to fund the operational costs of wildlife management, such as employment of community scouts to do patrols and monitor wildlife, institutional governance arrangements to ensure that the benefits are equitably used and distributed, and often other benefits like direct cash payments, school fees and community development projects. In this way, wildlife-based tourism not only funds nature conservation but also provides income and employment to a significant proportion of rural people in many African countries.
The shock to the tourism sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the vulnerability of a conservation model based primarily on tourism. All touristic activity was brought to an abrupt end in March 2020 when the world responded to the pandemic with an almost total global shut down of commercial passenger flights and lockdown measures. Employees in the tourism sector lost their jobs and livelihoods, with a disproportionate impact on people in remote and rural areas. Before COVID-19, wildlife tourism directly contributed US$29.3 billion in GDP to the economy in Africa and directly provided 3.6 million jobs across the continent, over one-third of all jobs in tourism (36.3%).
With the prospect of very few tourist arrivals in the short-term, protected areas and other conserved lands have had problems paying the salaries of rangers and other staff, who must find other ways of sustaining their families. As people lose their jobs and livelihoods, there are growing fears of a surge in illegal hunting for both subsistence and to feed commercial trade due to the decreased patrolling of parks and conservation areas in an Africa that is in ‘lockdown’. While the prospects for recovery in the tourism sector are a matter of intense speculation, it is possible, and indeed likely, that it will take years to see a return to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity. Even when economic activity restarts, more resilient and sustainable wildlife economies are needed to diversify risks for communities, governments and the private sector.
About The Incubator
The Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation and the WWF Regional Office for Africa are launching a global innovation challenge. We aim to discover and incubate new revenue models that do not depend on tourism, but still enable local communities within African countries to obtain their livelihoods from wildlife, manage their natural resources sustainably, and improve their collective wellbeing. Participants have the chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money.
Entrepreneurs and Venture Profiles
Global Conservation Corps
Global Conservation Corps is out to increase access and benefits for marginalized youth in communities in the Greater Kruger, through the creation of an online conservation learning platform where students can earn rewards (such as game drives) by engaging with conservation materials. This will also include building on our existing education monitoring app.
Matt Lindenberg (M) - Matt Lindenberg is the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Conservation Corps. He got his start training rangers at the Southern African Wildlife College and founded GCC to increase conservation-related opportunities for community members.
Kate Vannelli (F) - Kate Vannelli is a conservation social scientist and Nat Geo Explorer with a background in the human dimensions of big cat conservation. She currently directs Global Conservation Corps' conservation education program, focusing on values and benefits.
GCC is on a fundraising round to raise 300,000 USD in Equity, Grant and Human Capital
Dr. Robert Ddamulira (M) - Dr Ddamulira an experienced innovator, entrepreneur, systems-thinker and manager. He has over the past 17-year been leading on diverse environmental sustainability issues across different countries including nearly 9 years with WWF.
Reinhard Nyandire (M) - Reinhard Nyandire has wide-ranging experience in various fields including, sustainable development, advocacy, climate change, environmental and wildlife policy development, forest conservation, media empowerment, community development and project management.
Julius Mujuni (M) - Julius has experience in Renewable Energy, Financial Inclusion, Microfinance, Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Organization Development practitioner, Training, Social Work, International Development and Banking.
Rewild Capital is on a fundraising round to raise 1,000,000 USD in Equity, Grant and Revenue.
Matthew Child (M) - Matt is a trained conservation scientist with a Masters from Cambridge University and seven years of experience in conservation policy and implementation at the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.
Tyron Fouche (M) - Tyron is a Fellow of the Faculty and Institute of actuaries, Tyron is the founder of the award-winning Nobuntu Group and SAWEX. Tyron has experience brings insight into business model design, business development and investor relations.
Alexander Child (M) - Alex is a climate and energy economist with a focus on carbon pricing and carbon markets. He has expertise in global climate policy and climate finance. Alex has advised a wide range of private and public clients across the world.
Rewild Capital is on a fundraising round to raise 1,000,000 USD in Equity, Grant and Revenue.
Nela Duke Ekpenyong (F) - Nela is a conservationist, humanitarian and social entrepreneur. She believes in systemic change and collaboration to solve Africa's complex, social and environmental problems. She is the CEO and founder of Obudu Mountain Farms.
Edidiong Abba (F) - Edidiong is the finance manager at OMF. Prior to OMF, she worked with investment and fintech companies in the UK & Hong Kong. She is passionate about the sustainable and inclusive development of Nigeria and Africa.
Kevin Eyos (M) - Kevin is the Logistics Manager at OMF. He is an ardent conservationist and field Ornithologist with a wealth of experience working as an Eco-guide and a wildlife educationist to protect the wildlands of Obudu and its surrounding lowlands.
Obudu Mountain Farms is on a fundraising round to raise 100,000 USD in Equity, Grant and Revenue
Justin Gird (M) - Growing up in an agricultural context, Justin Gird's passion for wildlife and community-based natural resource management started at a very young age. He is a visionary, strategic thinker and thrives in complex environments.
Justine Rudman (F) - Justine is a closet entrepreneur. Having grown up on a farm, the natural environment and associated challenges posed enough motivation to always look out for interesting opportunities. Minding deadlines is annoying, but Justine does it.
Luyanda Luthuli (M) - Luyanda is curious about almost everything. Growing up in a rural setting, he went to study Agricultural Extension to equip himself with knowledge of how farmers can better utilize their resources. He is the team drone pilot and asks tough questions.
is on a fundraising round to raise 90,000 USD in Grant and Revenue
Morebee Natural Honey (Happy Child) - Sierra Leone
Mariama Satu Kargbo (F) - Mariama is a teacher by training; soft-spoken but well known and respected. She is a BSc. from the Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone. She is ambitious, a team player and determined to accomplish goals.
Zainab Barrie Aminata (F) - Aminata holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Makeni (UNIMAK). She started work upon graduation with a micro finance institution but left; is now an entrepreneur.
David Gborie (M) - David is a civil engineer and works with Loma Construction Company. He has vast experience in social marketing and a gifted speaker. He provides technical assistance and is one of the founding members of Happy Child.
Morebee Natural Honey is on a fundraising round to raise 459,000 USD in Grant and Revenue
Africa THINKS (Teaching Hub for indigenous Nature Knowledge Systems) - South Africa
Marina Khoza (F) - Marina Khoza is currently completing a Masters degree in savanna ecology at Rhodes University. She is an environmental and community activist and is involved in programmes aimed at building leadership and academic potential of young women.
Karen Kickers (F) - Karen is a Conservation Biologist-turned-Educator with a passion for delivering transformative experiential learning programs. Karen co-founded the Nsasani Trust, an education nonprofit aimed at developing Environmental Skills and Leadership in youth.
Nicholas King (M) - Prof Nick King is an independent global change consultant who has extensive experience working with governments, the private sector, NGOs and local communities in multi-stakeholder coordination, strategic planning, and conflict resolution.
Africa THINKS is on a fundraising round to raise 500,000 USD in Equity, Debt, Grant, Human Capital and Revenue
Gloria Mbatha Kisilu (F) - Gloria has a professional background in the Tourism Industry and a keen interest in sustainability. She has experience working with two other startups that focused on climate migration and economic empowerment participation (MIT Scale Up), SDG ambassadors and Hult Prize Alumni.
Shaba Market is on a fundraising round to raise 75,000 USD in Financial Investments
Tahina Rasolofoherisoa (F) - Tahina's passion for conservation can be traced back to the California Academy of Sciences at Tsimbazaza, where she spent significant time working on botany and ecology. As a botany intern she specializes in malagasy plants.
Olivia Onjaniaina (F) - Olivia Onjaniaina has dedicated her study at the California Academy of Sciences at Tsimbazaza. As a conservationist intern, Olivia specializes in plant systematics. She is certified in Botany and is on her way to obtain her Master degree.
Christian Soloniaina (M) - Christian is a biochemist and entomologist by training. He is a professional consultant in conservation. Christian specializes in toxicology of malagasy endemic plants and ants from Madagascar. He has a passion for languages, people and cultures.
Lemora Seeds is on a fundraising round to raise 22,000 USD in Grants and Customer access
Mark Gerrard (M): Mark is a conservationist with a strong interest in rural development and the convergence of business and conservation. He is the Chair of the IUCN Committee in South Africa and the MD of a conservation Non-Profit, Wildlife ACT.
Simon Morgan, PhD (M): Simon has a PhD in conservation ecology with a focus on rhino, and has been working to bridge the gap between research and conservation management for the last 15 years.
Gavin Erasmus (M): Gavin is an experienced entrepreneur leveraging technology to deliver positive change. He was CTO & co-founder of Sheep Inc - the world's first carbon negative fashion brand. He has extensive Blockchain experience.
BioIncent is on a fundraising round to raise 25,000 USD in Grants and Equity
Ruth Stewart (F): Ruth Stewart has worked with local communities in Botswana since 1996 and has extensive expertise and experience in the area. She is committed to linking the private sector to community initiatives in a sustainable manner.
Gosaitse Lekoko (F): Gosaitse Lekoko already has strong relationships with the local communities. She has an outstanding ability to build rapport and communicate effectively with vendors and buyers.
Debora Duarte (F): Debora Duarte is our Strategic Advisor. She brings international experience in the IT industry and Project Management skills. She is passionate about positively impacting people’s lives.
The Cultural Marketplace is on a fundraising round to raise 100,000 USD in Grants
David Gonahasa (M): David is the founder of Tripesa, a Platform as a service to help digitize SME tourism operators in Africa. He built his first tech business in 2003 and has worked across Africa. He was named Uganda Innovation Achiever of the Year 2017.
Hannah Bamwerinde (F): Hannah is Conservationist, community member, Travel Massive, founder Home of friends community tour operator.
Fidelis Kanyamunyu (M): Fidelis is a reformed poacher, honorary Uganda Wildlife Authority warden and community leader in the Bwindi area. He is a conservationist and has for long brokered community/Park authority negotiations.
Home of Gorillas is on a fundraising round to raise 100,000 USD in Grants and Equity