It will take the collective action of many different stakeholders to solve the challenges we face in conservation. The Business of Conservation Conference is an ALU initiative convening leaders from conservation and the sectors it intersects with, to promote best practices, strengthen networks and unique partnerships, and collectively tackle these challenges.
Highights of BCC2018
Founding Philosophy for the ALU ‘Business of Conservation’ conference
Conservation in Africa today faces huge challenges. A rapidly rising human population – by 2100 Africa’s population may have quadrupled – accompanied by infrastructure development and rising levels of consumption will make it ever more challenging to find room for wildlife. Harmony is yet to be found between 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. To name a few across the continent: Kenya’s conservancies movement led by groups such as the Northern Rangelands Trust; the communal conservancies in Namibia; privately-owned wildlife leading to the spread of game ranching in South Africa; public-private partnerships in running iconic conservation areas such as Virunga, the Maasai Mara or African Parks; and effective state management with a network of national parks and concessions in Botswana. Business and operating models of these successful models and initiatives 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, where poverty levels are extremely high and where population growth is the fastest. Wildlife in Africa must be developed as an economic asset that gives value to local communities and entire countries if it is to survive. Countries like Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and more recently Chad, Malawi and Benin have shown what happens when people are given 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 makes much more difference in conservation outcomes than in other parts of the world. The success of a new generation of African conservation organizations, and at the national level in countries like Rwanda and Botswana shows what happens when top leadership talent and good management practices are applied to conservation.
This conference will explore the intersection of business, economic development and conservation. The conference will seek to open up new conversations about how to bring a new entrepreneurial energy and vision to African conservation. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with the most innovative work in conservation today and to hear first-hand about successful models and emerging opportunities.
Who should attend?
policy makers, and regulators
One of the unique features of ALU are its schools (centers of excellence). Traditional universities have schools of law, medicine, engineering etc. ALU believes that solving the world’s great challenges requires a much more inter-disciplinary approach. As such, its schools are centered around the 7 ‘Grand Challenges’ and 7 ‘Great Opportunities’ that Africa will face over the next 50 years. We believe that Wildlife Conservation is one of the great opportunities for Africa. Specifically, we believe that Africa’s wildlife must bring real economic benefits to African communities in order to give African communities and governments real incentive to protect wildlife. The school aims to improve the quality of leadership and management and to bring innovative business and entrepreneurship practices to African conservation. This will enable wildlife to provide jobs and income to African people, ultimately giving African communities a ‘stake’ in the conservation of our wildlife. The success of organizations like African Parks and countries like Rwanda, Namibia and Botswana, where national leaders have made conservation a key pillar of economic development, powerfully illustrates this point.
ALU aims to transform Africa into a prosperous and peaceful continent by developing 3 million leaders and entrepreneurs over the coming decades to address Africa’s greatest challenges and capture its greatest opportunities. ALU has been called the ‘Harvard of Africa’ by CNN; recognized as the ‘3rd most innovative organization in Africa’ by Fast Company, and described by the New York Times as ‘one of 8 places in the world where history is being made’. ALU was established by Fred Swaniker, one of Africa’s most experienced social entrepreneurs and educationalists, who has been recognized by President Obama, the World Economic Forum, TED, and on several other platforms.