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Unlocking the potential of the wildlife economy in the


Project in partnership with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation

Natural resources, including wildlife, have traditionally been seen as inputs and not as assets in a national economy. This perception has seen limited public resources being allocated to, or invested in, supporting wildlife resources or to developing the wildlife economy. If this is to change there is a need to illustrate to stakeholders the economic contribution of wildlife resources to local, national and regional economies and to develop a framework for managing the wildlife economy.

At the Africa Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls in 2019 the key message was that Africa’s wildlife economy initiative needs to:

  • Assure rights to benefits for local communities through relevant laws;
  • Institute proper structures that ensure equitable distribution of benefits accrued from the wildlife economy;
  • Promote proper governance through elaborate transparent and accountable processes, systems and institutions;
  • Ensure participation by all stakeholders in decision-making;
  • Develop a regulatory framework that attracts private sector investment;
  • Call for development partners to enhance conditions that encourage private sector investment and catalyse financing options for the conservation of natural resources.

This project will align with the key outcomes of the Summit, as well as the new SADC Wildlife Economy Strategy (under development), the AU Green Stimulus programme and the IUCN resolution 091 on building and strengthening wildlife economies in Eastern and Southern Africa. Additionally, the project can assist countries with delivering on their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as well as achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the project, the wildlife economy is defined as:

“The use of indigenous wildlife, both plants and animals (marine and terrestrial), as an economic asset to create value that aligns with conservation objectives and delivers sustainable growth and economic development”.

Activities within the wildlife economy may be consumptive, or non-consumptive.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To develop a framework, including a costed action plan and policy brief, for the wildlife economy in the KAZA TFCA
  • To implement the relevant action plan elements through various identified initiatives to have an impact on the ground from years two to five of the proposal – including through building capacity in several sectors, promoting entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships, and unlocking key value chains
  • To develop individual case studies on the State of the Wildlife Economy in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia & Zimbabwe
  • To raise the profile of the wildlife economy in the KAZA TFCA, highlighting the importance of seeing wildlife as an asset to invest in
  • Where possible, to provide recommendations for policy and practice at a national, as well as TFCA level

The African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation worked with the KAZA Secretariat on a proposal for funding to support research and capacity building related to the wildlife economy in the KAZA TFCA. The proposal was accepted for funding by the Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation for a total sum of USD 450,000 over a five-year project period, starting on the 1st July 2022. Due to the multisectoral nature of the wildlife economy, it will be important to include stakeholders from all related Ministries, including Tourism, Forestry, Fisheries, Climate Change, Land Use Planning, Finance, etc.