Over the past 30 years, conservation in Africa has become heavily dependent on tourism for revenue. Before Covid-19, wildlife tourism directly contributed US$ 29.3bn in GDP to the economy in Africa and directly provided 3.6 million jobs across the continent.
However, the tourism sector was negatively affected by the pandemic which further highlighted the vulnerability of a conservation model.
Beyond Tourism in Africa is a global innovation challenge seeking new revenue models that enable communities in Africa to derive income from wildlife conservation beyond the tourism sector. Participants stand a chance to win a place in the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money. Between five and 15 successful ideas will be chosen, and all of these will receive a place on the African Leadership University’s incubation programme and access to seed money.
According to Elizabeth Tojo, Director of operations at The African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation, “Beyond the development of entrepreneurial and leadership skills, conservation can become an African economic pillar by incubating radical ideas with the potential to boost economic outcomes at all levels. Given School of Wildlife Conservation ( SoWC’s) commitment to developing those crucial business skills, this competition and incubation program is a logical next step towards the fulfilment of our mission”.
This challenge provides an excellent opportunity to grow and develop exciting, innovative ideas to build greater resilience. Innovators from around the world are welcome, especially people from non-traditional conservation and alternative sectors and those with strong ties to rural communities in Africa.
Ideas must meet the following criteria for consideration:
Generates value (economic, social and cultural) for the local community(ies) in Africa from wildlife or natural resources
Does not rely on tourism to generate revenue
Empowers communities with decision-making power and ensures their rights, dignity and livelihoods are a priority
Demonstrates to be feasible, financially sustainable and potentially scalable
Aims to improve the conditions for wildlife and natural resources
“Now more than ever it is clear that we need diversification of wildlife economy activities to build resilience and ensure the long-term sustainability of wildlife and people’s livelihoods. This challenge provides an excellent opportunity to grow and develop exciting, innovative ideas to build greater resilience,” said Dr Sue Snyman, Head of Research Department at the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation, who has been analyzing the wildlife economies of Africa for years.
Applications close on 15 October.