Prof Prosper Matondi, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife has said wildlife plays a significant role in Zimbabwe’s biodiversity economy.
He made the remarks while officially opening a workshop on wildlife economy in Harare yesterday.
This year, the Government of Zimbabwe launched its first Zimbabwe Biodiversity Economy Report. The report sought to address challenges underpinning biodiversity loss and to position the biodiversity economy as a key sector to invest in. In the report, the Government of Zimbabwe prioritized four sectors that are important for the biodiversity economy, namely bioprospecting, fisheries, forestry, and wildlife.
“Today we are gathered here to discuss the wildlife sector. Ladies and gentlemen, this dialogue we are having today is meant to get an understanding of the current trends regionally and internationally in terms of the wildlife economy which is the subsector of the Zimbabwe Biodiversity Economy. At this level, we are still at the policy level before a more refined engagement with technical experts.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Zimbabwe is rich in biodiversity, that is plant and animal life and its varied landscapes and aquatic ecosystems. Biodiversity is the foundation for human well-being through the goods and services it provides. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are particularly important, supporting agriculture, industry, energy, tourism, and manufacturing, which are the country’s key economic pillars. As Zimbabwe positions for a decade of economic growth to achieve its vision of becoming a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income country by 2030, there is a need to substantially harness development opportunities in the wildlife economy,” Prof Matondi said.
Despite the high level and global significance of biodiversity in Zimbabwe, the country faces multiple challenges associated with biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and climate change consequences.
These challenges include deforestation, poaching and illegal wildlife trade, human-wildlife conflict and retaliatory killings, and climate change.
In order to address some of these challenges, Prof Matondi said there is a need for the country including the communities to develop and invest in the wildlife sector.
Furthermore, value addition of some of the wildlife products can be carried out in order maximise benefits from the sector. It is estimated that Protected Areas (PAs) attracted about $351.9 million in photographic and hunting tourism in 2019, or 27% of total tourist expenditure and 1.7% of GDP.
On the other hand, hunting generated about $19 million in fees paid to the Government in 2019. Prof Matondi said the current regime of Community Based Natural Resource Management has not produced the desired results.
“There is definitely a need for dialogue and engagement on the biodiversity economy and more specifically wildlife sector to ensure there are relevant to current trends to the social economic environment,” he added.
However, there are threatened animal species globally.