French development agency channels bridging finance to conservancies through Environmental Investment Fund
The French Government’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement, has signed an agreement with the Environmental Investment Fund to provide bridge funding to communal conservancies who has seen their sources of income evaporate when tourism was forced to halt due to worldwide lockdowns.
“Conservancies suffer from a sudden halt of tourism and hunting activities which represent more than 90% of their revenues. This situation highlights the needs for conservancies to pursue a more diversified portfolio of income generating activities,” stated the agency when announcing its support for the Environmental Investment Fund.
The N$3.3 million funding will be used to help conservancies survive the slump but a part will also be used to design and identify longer-term financial solutions that will ultimately help conservancies develop alternative sources of income.
“A N$3,3 million grant agreement was signed with the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia to design an innovative and effective national Payment for Ecosystem Services mechanism. At its core this mechanism looks to align the interests of local communities with external actors interested in the conservation service being provided, by establishing a market for the exchange of ecosystem services,” stated the agency.
The agreement was signed by the fund’s Chief Executive, Benedict Libanda, the French Ambassador to Namibia, HE Sébastien Minot, and the French Development Agency’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Bruno Deprince. The signing was witnessed by representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the World Wildlife Fund, Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisations, and the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia.
“The agreement we are witnessing is another milestone in the sustainable and strategic relationship between the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia and the French Development Agency,” said Bendict Libanda, the fund’s Chief Executive.