Botswana Wants to Learn From Namibia’s Experience

Botswana’s community-based natural resources programme (CBNRM) is more government-driven and currently, the rural communities living adjacent to parks and other tourists attractions are not benefiting from income generated through tourism activities, said Onkokame Mokaila, that country’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, at an information sharing meeting with his Namibian counterpart this week.

Mokaila, together with a delegation representing various conservation and tourism organisations from Botswana, is currently touring the Kunene-South conservancies to learn from Namibia.

“We hear that the Namibian model is a model to follow. We want our communities to benefit from the natural resources and that is why we are here; we want to learn from Namibia and so better our own programme,” Mokaila said.

He added that SADC countries have to work together for the benefit of the people.

The Namibian CBNRM programme has often been hailed as a success as it tackles poverty through the sustainable use of natural resources. Overall income from the CBNRM programme was N$42.48 million in 2009 and the Namibian economy earned over N$266 million through CBNRM activities in the same year.

The success of the CBNRM programme can be attributed to government’s willingness to devolve rights to communities through conservancies, the provision of incentives to communities to conserve wildlife and use it sustainably as well as the willingness of the communities to voluntarily take advantage of empowerments by government, said Colgar Sikopo, deputy director of parks and wildlife at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, at the meeting.

The programme is being implemented through conservancies, where local level management bodies are implemented to manage wildlife and tourism. Employment creation for conservancy members, cash income for households, as well as entrepreneurship training are some of the benefits communities can derive from the CBNRM programme. Currently there are 64 registered conservancies.

The delegation from Botswana is expected to return to their country on Saturday, 13 August.