A financing agreement of 15.5 million Euros was signed today for Phase III of the KAZA programme between the German development bank KfW, represented by the German Ambassador to Botswana and Special Representative to SADC, Mr. Ralf Breth, and the Government of Botswana represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr. Thato Yaone Raphaka.
The new commitment further extends the German-SADC development cooperation in the sector of transboundary natural resource management and conservation, which has provided support to nearly 10 projects and programmes of technical and financial cooperation since the year 2000, with a total volume of about 125 million Euros. With regards to the KAZA programme, it is an extension of funding for another 5 years until end of 2022 for an endeavour that started back in 2006.
The Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) transfrontier conservation area is the largest conservation area in the world, spanning five African countries - Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – and an area of 520,000 km² (26 times the size of Kruger NP). KAZA comprises a large array of protected areas, such as national parks, nature and forest reserves, game and wildlife management areas, community conservancies, major river streams and freshwater resources and some of the most spectacular Natural and Cultural World Heritage Sites: the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Tsodillo Hills and more. Because of these unique attractions, the KAZA area attracts tourists from all over the world and nourishes a growing tourism industry and business that provide employment, income as well as foreign currency and revenues to the communities, private sector and governments. However, building a conservation economy entails not only opportunities and benefits, but also challenges, costs and conflicts, as can be seen from the growing poaching crisis, depletion of forest and fishery resources, human-wildlife and land use conflicts.
The challenges are enormous given the vast area, ambitious targets and differences between and within the 5 countries that decided to work together and demonstrate strong partnership and regional integration, peace and security, cross border development and trade. Hence it is clear that this is an endeavour that requires a long term commitment and continuous support.
Great achievements have been made so far in terms of institutional developments, which include a treaty, a joint regional secretariat, committees and working groups, national and regional strategies and integrated development plans including portfolios of projects, databases and maps etc. Various protected areas and wildlife corridors have benefitted from investments and operational support, community conservancies have been rolled out and a joint visa for tourists has been successfully tested and implemented between Zambia and Zimbabwe. But not enough has been done so far in terms of improving livelihood of rural communities and joint ventures for tourism development between public, private and community sectors. The new financing of 15.5 million Euros will have a focus on these activities with tangible benefits on the ground.
For more information please contact the KAZA Website www.kavangozambezi.org