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Wildlife economy crucial for economic development - Govt

by Gideon Madzikatidze/Simbarashe Sithole
08 Nov 2023 at 09:35hrs | Views
The Zimbabwean government has reiterated the complementary need for communities to develop and invest in the wildlife sector to realise economic growth through value addition, despite some multiple challenges associated with biodiversity economy.

While officially opening the wildlife economy workshop in Harare, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Professor Prosper Matondi has claimed there is need to substantially harness development opportunities in the wildlife economy.

"Biodiversity and ecosystem services are particularly important, supporting agriculture, industry, energy, tourism, and manufacturing, which are the country's key economic pillars. As Zimbabwe positions for a decade of economic growth to achieve its vision of becoming a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income country by 2030, there is need to substantially harness development opportunities in the wildlife economy," Prof Matondi remarks.

"Despite the high level and global significance of biodiversity in Zimbabwe, the country faces multiple challenges associated with biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and climate change consequences. These challenges include deforestation, poaching and illegal wildlife trade, human wildlife conflict and retaliatory killings, and climate change.

"In order to address some of these challenges, there is need for the country including the communities to develop and invest in the wildlife sector. Furthermore, value addition of some of the wildlife products can be carried out in order maximise benefits from the sector," Professor Prosper Matondi close remarks.

Meanwhile, statistics has shown that an estimation on the Protected Areas (PAs) attracted about $351.9 million in photographic and hunting tourism in 2019, or 27% of total tourist expenditure and 1.7% of GDP. On the other hand, hunting generated about $19 million in fees paid to the Government in 2019.

African Wildlife Foundation (a leading international conservation organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya) Country Director, Ms Olivia Mufute has recently noted (during the inaugural Zimbabwe Biodiversity Economy Report launch) that the ZBE report creates a roadmap for Natural Capital Accounting and therefore essential in addressing challenges underpinning biodiversity loss countrywide.

"The roadmap for Natural Capital Accounting, illustrated in the report, provides a framework that would help Zimbabwe to mainstream the value and contribution of nature into development planning, policy development and decision-making on public and private investment," Mufute said then.

The ZBE Report is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11,12,13, 14 and 15 which speak to environmental protection and is also aligned to SDG 8 which speaks on economic growth.

Source - Gideon Madzikatidze/Simbarashe Sithole