Germany donates N$107 million for infrastructure of north-eastern parks
The Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Hon. Tommy Nambahu in collaboration with the Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, Christian Grün on 5 July officiated the opening of three new park management stations which are being constructed in the Khaudum and Nkasa Rupara National Parks in Namibia’s Kavango East and Zambezi Regions.
The construction will include a total of 61 staff houses, attractive entrance gates and visitor reception offices and workshops. The total cost of the project is forecasted at N$136 million, of which N$107 million is provided by German Cooperation and N$29 million by the MET.
The programme is co-funded by the Republic of Namibia and the Federal Republic of Germany in support of the Namibian Government’s development and conservation initiatives in north eastern Namibia.
These new park management stations complement the three other park stations that were built during previous phases of the Namibia National Parks Programme (or NamParks) at Mahango, Susuwe and Ngenda in Bwabwata and Mudumu National Parks that to date were bereft of infrastructure.
The ceremony was also attended by the Governor of the Zambezi Region, representatives of the Traditional Authorities and the German Development Bank (KfW) – the co-financier behind the NamParks Project on behalf of the German Government. Hon. Nambahu shared that the new houses will be a massive improvement on the present situation, where staff currently live in old barracks and wooden shacks and will enable MET to recruit more qualified staff and improve their park management capacity.
The efforts of the Namibian-German cooperation to develop the four north eastern parks (Khaudum, Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara) is steadily improving the effectiveness of park management. This in turn is having a positive effect on wildlife numbers and the experience of visitors, which brings considerable benefits to the region in general and to local communities. Tourism concessions and hunting projects undertaken by neighbouring and resident communities in the north east are generating more than N$17.5m per year in local benefits, which are directly linked to the successful management of these parks.
The north eastern parks are a model for the Integrated Park Management approach to conservation. MET manages the parks as open systems with due consideration and participation of neighbouring and resident communities and other stakeholders, Nambahu elaborated.
Through their active collaboration and subsequent benefits, the communities have a vested interest in the protection and well being of the parks. Examples of joint management projects include the Mudumu North and South complexes, which were established by MET, and consists of conservancies, community forests, government, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders.
The four national parks in north-eastern Namibia are at the heart of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Trans-frontier Conservation Area. KAZA comprises a total area of 52 million hectares (about half the size of Namibia) with extraordinary natural attractions and a largely untapped tourism potential.
Grün, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy shared that the German Development Bank provides support for the development of Namibia’s north eastern national parks as part of the support to the focal area of “Natural Resource Management” – one of the three main German-Namibian cooperation areas. The support is also in line with the North East Parks Programme that was initiated in 1995 by the MET to foster both nature conservation and socio-economic development in the Kavango and Caprivi Regions.