MCA helps tourism sector achieve milestones
The Namibian tourism sector is achieving milestones with the assistance of the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N).
About US$66 million of the compact will be devoted to improving tourism potential and park conservation efforts which include improving the management and infrastructure of tourist destinations. “Through reforms focused on better budget control and transparency, technical assistance, training for management personnel, and investments in local road systems, we expect to realise more private investment in the park and an overall increase in tourism throughout the country,” said Reuben Brigety, deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department’s bureau of African Affairs.
One of the successes of MCA Namibia’s tourism project is the recent signing of a concession agreement between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Ehirovipuka Conservancy for the Hobatere Roadside Concession.
The Ministry chose the Hobatare Roadside Concession as one of the sites to fulfil the Traversing Concession Performance Target. The concession will result in considerable benefits flowing to the Ehirovipuka Conservancy members – a potential tourism joint venture agreement on a luxury lodge outside Etosha National Park to bring their guests into the park through the Galton Gate.
The MCA Namibia Tourism Project is focused on three main areas; improving the management and infrastructure of the Etosha National Park, boost marketing of local tourism and develop the capacity of communal conservancies to lure investments in eco-tourism. MCA-Namibia is working together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism on reforms that will offer tourists an improved product and to open the western half of Etosha to tourism, which should also help attract additional tourists and revenue.
The MCA is also assisting conservancies to increase their roles in the tourism sector through partnerships with the private sector. MCA-Namibia has contracted with the World Wildlife Fund to provide technical assistance and training to 31 conservancies with high tourism potential. Through these partnerships, conservancies and the private sector develop agreements that lead to increased revenue and employment for the conservancies.
The MCA Compact agreement was undertaken in 2009 with a total budget of roughly N$2.35 billion (US$304.5 million). As part of the MCA agreement, Namibia received just over N$1 billion for the education sector, about N$469 million on tourism and N$329 million for the agricultural sector. The programme comes to an end in 2014.