Ministry Awards First Concession with Communities in Khaudum National Park

07 May 2008

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has signed a concession with a traditional authority (TA) and two conservancies to establish tourism accommodation facilities in Khaudum National Park.

This is the first agreement to be signed following the approval of the Tourism and Wildlife Concessions Policy by Cabinet last year and will promote conservation, a vibrant tourism industry and community development.

The concession was signed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Netembo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and representatives of the Gcuriku Traditional Authority and the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies at a ceremony held on May 7,2008 at Ndiyona in the Kavango Region.

The 20 year agreement will enable the entities to establish accommodation facilities at the Khaudum and Sikerette camps within the Khaudum National Park. They may also undertake activities such as day and night game drives, guided nature walks, sale of crafts and meals and other activities subject to prior approval of the Ministry.

Khaudum National Park is one of Namibia’s most wild, rugged and pristine wilderness   areas   containing   a   wide   variety   of   abundant   biodiversity, landscapes and a range of ecosystems.  The concession stipulates that development must be sustainable and in keeping with the natural values and wilderness experience provided in this park.

The main aim of the agreement is the promotion of environmentally sensitive tourism  facilities  and  high  quality  nature  experiences  in the park,  and  the associated promotion of conservation, tourism and community development.

Importantly, the awarding of this concession improves access to the tourism industry of formerly disadvantaged Namibians.

These communities have been awarded concession rights by the MET based on a Cabinet decision of 1999.  The park was proclaimed in 1989.

The TA and conservancies  will soon advertise for a joint venture partner to develop  tourism  facilities.   The community  are seeking  a partner  who  can develop,  manage and realise the full tourism,  community  and conservation potential of these unique opportunities. This exciting business opportunity will be  advertised  through  an  expression  of  interest  process  in  the  next  two weeks.

The   awarding   of   this   concession   and   others   will   contribute   to   rural development,  employment  creation  and  economic  growth.   “It’s  an exciting time for tourism  in Namibia,  we want to grow this industry so that we can achieve our conservation, development and economic outcomes,” the Minister said.

Under the new policy, concessions on State land have significant roles to play and   complement   other   contributors   to   the   economy   of   the   country. Concessions are a means of providing access for visitors to parts of protected areas that are ordinarily not accessible and to generate additional revenue for the State in a sustainable way from Namibia’s indigenous plant and wildlife resources.

Concessions also create opportunities for business development and the economic   empowerment   of   formerly   disadvantaged   Namibians   through access  to tourism,  hunting  and industries  based  on wild  plant  and  animal resources. Improving access to public resources for the empowerment of formerly disadvantaged Namibians with the aim of uplifting this sector of the population is of the utmost importance.

The award of this concession was facilitated with support from partners and donors such as Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), WWF’s Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) Project, French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), the Integrated Community-based  Ecosystem  Management  (ICEMA) and UNDP/ GEF Strengthening  the Protected  Area Network  (SPAN)  projects,  TAs and conservancies.

Ends.

Contact Information

MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM

OFFICE OF THE MINISTER

Tel:    (061) 2842335                                                                                

Fax:   (061) 232057