Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation partners with AWEI to build sustainable wildlife economies in Africa
28-09-2021 11:24:52 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 1238 | Tags:

Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation has partnered with the African Wildlife Economy Institute (AWEI) of Stellenbosch University to build sustainable and inclusive wildlife economies in Africa through research, outreach, teaching, and engagement with stakeholders.

Sustainable and resilient wildlife economies are critical to aligning wildlife conservation with inclusive economic development in Africa. With wildlife tourism heavily impacted by the pandemic, there is now also increasing recognition of the need for growth and diversification in the sector.

Duncan MacFadyen, Oppenheimer Generations Head of Research and Conservation said, "Sustainable and inclusive wildlife economies are critical to the future of wildlife conservation in Africa, however, there is a lack of knowledge of wildlife economies and what is required to enhance their contribution to sustainable development and wildlife conservation across the continent.”

The sustainability of the wildlife economy depends on well-functioning value chains in products such as tourism and recreation, hunting and fishing, and wildlife products including game meat.

The game meat industry is diverse and has seen continued growth. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural developed reported that the average gross value of game meat amounted to R38 million between 2000 and 2008. More recently, Wildlife Ranching South Africa estimated that by 2018 the value of game processing at R4.5 billion annually. This growth is predominantly due to consumer demand for healthier, GMO-free, low-fat protein. The increased demand and supply of game meat contributes to rewilded landscapes, rural economic development, job creation, and food security.

Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University said, “Stellenbosch University is delighted to be partnering with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation in the form of the African Wildlife Economy Institute. By bringing together academics from various disciplines – including law, economics, business and conservation science – to engage with stakeholders and decision makers, we aim to facilitate an enabling environment for wildlife economies across the continent. Taste of Game demonstrates the potential for diversifying wildlife value chains by connecting responsible consumption to transformed landscape management, and providing economic, health and social benefits through conservation.”

Though the Taste of Game initiative, AWEI together with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation aims to support the development of an inclusive and sustainable wild meat sector across Africa that benefits both people and nature.