Botswana will maximize the economic contribution of its wildlife

Botswana will maximize the economic contribution of its wildlife

By Keletso Thobega for The Guardian

Greater investment in the wildlife economy would go a long way to boosting Botswana’s GDP and improving the quality of livelihoods for people in rural and urban communities, new research shows.

Wildlife is a valuable asset to African economies, according to the recently released report on the Wildlife Economy Research Project, which aims to promote an inclusive, growing and sustainable wildlife economy in African states.

The report, from the School of Wildlife Conservation at African Leadership University, presents findings from the World Bank which indicate that wildlife GDP in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 2.3% compared to 2019, with a constant growth of -20% of tourism GDP.

The report notes, however, that the recurring challenge is that many African cities lack adequate infrastructure to support the sustainable protection of biodiversity and the growth of the wildlife economy, adding that Africa would benefit greatly from reformed regulations. in tourism and community ecotourism.

The wildlife economy contributes to job creation and income generation, as well as improving livelihood diversification and protecting flora and fauna ecosystems.

The findings of the report indicate that wildlife resources in Botswana can contribute positively to national income as the sector is economically efficient and contributes to the economic development of the country through job creation and income generation.

The director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kabelo Senyatso, indicated that wildlife must be developed in such a way as to maximize its economic contributions, hence the various programs and community interventions aimed at building the capacities of the inhabitants and include in the local economy.

In general, non-consumptive tourism on high quality wildlife lands will yield the greatest economic returns and should be prioritized. Safari hunting and community use of wildlife should also be priorities for investment.

The report defines the wildlife economy as a way to use wildlife, both plants and animals, as an economic asset to create value that aligns with conservation goals and ensures growth and sustainable economic development. He further notes that the tourism sector has contributed about US$120 billion to the global economy, which is expected to grow at an average of 10% per year.

The Wildlife Economics Research Project report also cited indicators from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) from earlier this year, which highlight that current declines and loss of biodiversity reduce the contribution of nature to African populations. This loss affects their daily lives and also has a negative impact on the goals of sustainable social and economic development.

Investment in the conservation of living natural resources is essential to ensure sustainable development.

The research process implemented also highlights data gaps and encourages the collection of data related to wildlife economies.

This article is reproduced here as part of the African Conservation Journalism program, funded in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe by USAID’s VukaNow: Activity. Implemented by the international conservation organization Space for Giants, it aims to expand the reach of conservation and environmental journalism in Africa and bring more African voices into the international conservation debate. Articles written by the Mozambican and Angolan cohorts are translated from Portuguese. The broadcast stories remain in the original language.

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