Conservation, tourism sector receives boost from German government
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism on Wednesday received an additional of N$250 million from the German government to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s conservation and tourism sector.
The conservation and tourism sector has been significantly affected by the loss of income from tourism, caused by the lockdown measures and international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the event, Environment Minister, Pohamba Shifeta said the country’s tourism, which is the principal economic force in conservancies and pays for the conservation protection costs, is particularly hard hit.
“Namibia’s tourism industry estimates there will be zero tourist arrivals in the country for the next three months, and that this situation is likely to persist for the entire year,” he said.
Shifeta said the predictions for lost income and massive job losses in this sector are particularly painful in rural areas, where the majority of the population ekes out a subsistence living, which has been seriously weakened by the recent 6-year drought.
Breaking down the funds received, Shifeta said N$96 million is earmarked to mitigate the economic losses to conservation and tourism sector under the Ministry’s Tourism’s Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilient Facility, N$77 million is envisaged for measures aiding national parks and protected areas, to minimize detrimental ecological and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the remaining N$77 million will be directed to benefit the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) similarly impacted by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Ellen Gölz, the Chargée d’affaires in the German Embassy said Germany will continue to stand by Namibia and the funds are aimed at supporting efforts to avoid negative ecological impacts to the parks and protected areas.
“International cooperation, coordination and solidarity are key to an effective global response to COVID-19,” she said, adding that the fight can only be won by standing together.
According to Gölz, the decision to focus the additional funds for Namibia on this sector is based on an important lesson drawn from the COVID pandemic, which shows how important a healthy environment and intact ecosystems are for human health and for resilience of the economy and social systems.
Caption: From left to right: Ms Lydia von Krosigk, (KfW-Office Namibia), Mr Bennett Kahuure (Deputy Director,MEFT), Timoteus Mufeti, (Environmental Commissioner, MEFT), Ms Ellen Gölz, (Chargeé d’affaires a.i., Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany), Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, (PM and Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) and Ms. Barbara Pirich, (Country Director, KfW Office Namibia), Dr Gabriele Geier, (Head of Cooperation of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany).