HARARE – A clarion call has been made by ministers from Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) partner countries to ensure that communities benefit from the rich wildlife within the region.
KAZA partner countries includes Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira told KAZA ministerial meeting underway in Victoria Falls that the meeting gives us an opportunity to discuss, agree on the way forward and provide policy guidance on matters relating to the KAZA TFCA.
“The focus of our efforts should be to transform the lives of the communities throughout the KAZA landscape, contribute to the socio-economic development of our nations as well as improve the conservation status of flora and fauna of the TFCA,” she said.
The last ministerial meeting was held in 2016.
“This dream can only be achieved through collaborative efforts with all stakeholders that include the private sector, civil society, local communities, development partners, academia and research institutions among others.”
KAZA TFCA is moving in the right direction, Mupfumira said it has managed to forge a number of partnerships for development.
“We have a number of projects that are taking place in the KAZA Region and the support is just overwhelming but we still need to do more. Our local communities are supportive of the various initiatives,” she said.
“This meeting should reflect on all the progress that we have recorded to date and map the way forward on any challenges concerning the implementation and development of the KAZA TFCA.”
The tourism sector is contributing a lot the economies, in terms of foreign currency inflows, employment creation and GDPs.
However, Mupfumira added that there is need not just to sustain such contributions at current levels but to increase the same.
“In saying this, I note that tourism is largely a low hanging fruit. Thus our thrust should be two pronged, that is grow both international arrivals and domestic tourism so that the locals may also enjoy their God-given resources. All this can only happen when we continue to look after our pristine wildlife and environment.”
Through collaborative effort in conserving the pristine wildlife and environment that has seen two member states within the KAZA region receiving internationally recognised awards. Namibia received the Best Safari and Wildlife Destination award while Zimbabwe received the Sustainable Destination of the Year 2019 award at ITB among others.
This year, the southern African nation will host the inaugural AU/UN Wildlife Economy, in Victoria Falls, from 24 to 25 June. The meeting promises to add value to our quest to promote wildlife based tourism in Africa.