Covering 440,000 square kilometres, the new conservation area is as big as Germany and Austria combined. Its main purpose is the sustainable development of tourism and of the economy in the participating countries and the conservation of biodiversity.
In August 2011, the five countries' heads of state signed an agreement to that effect. The ambitious project saw its official launch in March 2012. Constructive cooperation between the governments of the KAZA countries is a thing that should not be taken for granted. In the past, there have repeatedly been armed clashes or diplomatic disputes among some of them.
The BMZ is supporting the development of KAZA through the German Development Bank KfW; KfW is the largest donor and is contributing 35.5 Million Euro. It works closely with other supporting countries, such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, and with non-governmental organisations including World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Peace Parks Foundation.
From poachers to gamekeepers
One aspect of the KAZA project is the establishment of community protection areas. This involves the central government turning over land to a community, which is then allowed to use it for economic benefit, but simultaneously assumes responsibility for nature conservation. For example, the community may rent a parcel of land to a lodge operator. The lodge creates jobs and buys food from local farmers, thus generating additional income for local people. As the guests of the lodge come for the wildlife, it now becomes more attractive to protect wild animals than to hunt them. KfW therefore also supports efforts to train former poachers to become gamekeepers.