KfW Entwicklungsbank finances world's biggest conservation area in Africa
Nature protection, peace and tourism
The protection of biological diversity and economic development will be closely integrated
EUR 20 million for the construction of park infrastructure, tourism facilities, wildlife management, demining and coordination of private initiatives of farmers, villages and international investors
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW Entwicklungsbank as the main donor institution will provide EUR 20 million for the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Park (KAZA), a sum which will initially be invested in the development of park infrastructure, ecological corridors, wildlife management, the coordination of private initiatives of the local population with private investors in tourism, and in the medium term for demining and health programmes. The area being formed to comprise the world's biggest conservation area covers regions in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia und Zimbabwe. With 29 million hectares, roughly the size of Italy, the fascinating KAZA region is a joint initiative of the participating countries and is to be developed into one of the world's most attractive travel destinations for ecotourism.
"In establishing the park, the conservation of biodiversity and economic development go hand in hand. For the Sub-Saharan countries, international nature tourism in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area is an effective strategy for promoting growth and employment and helps to reduce rural poverty", said Dr Norbert Kloppenburg, member of the Managing Board of KfW Bankengruppe.
The further development and expansion of the park can create many new jobs and income opportunities for activities in the tourism sector in what are generally structurally weak regions of the participating states. As a rule of thumb, one job is created for every eight tourists in southern Africa. Active participation by the population is a key element of this concerted promotion of tourism in rural areas. Private initiatives of local farmers and villages are therefore also being supported - along with the coordination of international private investments.
The idea of creating the park dates back to an African initiative which, following the concept of the so-called "peace parks", also covers former conflict regions and is designed to reinforce the cooperation between the states. The already existing tourism magnets such as the Victoria Falls (Zambia, Zimbabwe) and the Okavango Delta (Botswana) border on regions which are famous for their spectacular wilderness but were previously excluded from any significant economic development for lack of infrastructure and because of armed conflicts. The planned Kavango Zambezi-Transfrontier Conservation Area comprises more than 30 national parks and conservation areas.
KfW Entwicklungsbank has been committed to the conservation of tropical forests, nature and biodiversity for the last 20 years. Since 1990 KfW has invested more than EUR 1.3 billion in projects and programmes aimed at conserving biological diversity in natural ecosystems and developing the sustainable management of natural resources, a good half of which in Latin America, some 30% in Africa and roughly 16% in Asia. This makes KfW the most important bilateral donor institution in this area.