Funding platform wants to revive wildlife sector devastated by Covid

The African Nature Based Tourism Platform - Connecting funders to beneficiaries in 11 countries in eastern and southern Africa. Stock image.
The African Nature Based Tourism Platform - Connecting funders to beneficiaries in 11 countries in eastern and southern Africa. Stock image.
Image: 123rf/Anna Om

A newly launched platform aims to revive the nature-based tourism industry in Africa — a sector that was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seven-month-old African Nature-Based Tourism Platform facilitates Covid-19 relief and recovery funding to communities and small and medium enterprises involved in the sector in 11 African countries.

“The Covid-19 crisis has crippled economies and industries all over the world, and nature-based tourism has been one of the leading economic casualties. For many African countries, this means a significant loss of funding for their conservation operations, local community livelihoods, and tourism enterprises,” said Dr Nikhil Advani, the platform's project manager. 

Launched in April 2021, the platform has conducted more than 525 surveys among communities and SMEs across the project's focus countries, with data suggesting that there was a reduction of 58% of the staff complement across the enterprises surveyed.

The platform hosts data that has been collected using surveys to measure the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on communities and SMEs.

It also enhances knowledge-sharing between relevant stakeholders, seeks to connect potential beneficiaries to funders, facilitates the development of funding proposals from communities and SMEs, and serves as a hub for everyone involved in the sector to share and access information. 

“The goal is to mobilise at least $15m (R233.6m) to support communities and SMEs to build greater resilience into the nature-based tourism business model into the future. The types of financial support we are looking to make available to beneficiaries include grants, loans, equity, and quasi-equity, among others.

“The sources for this financial support include governments, individual donors, institutional donors, banks, and investors, among others,” Advani said. 

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