by Charmaine Ngatjiheue

TOURISM minister Pohamba Shifeta this morning launched a conservation relief, recovery and resilience facility aimed at addressing the long-term impact of Covid-19 on conservancies.

CONSERVATION FUNDING … From left: Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta, Nedbank’s acting managing director Richard Meeks, UNDP’s resident representative Alka Bhatia and EIF chief executive officer Benedict Libanda.

The Environmental Investment Fund will run the facility in addition to the N$6 million it committed.

Speaking at the Covid-19 Communication Centre this morning, Shifeta said the total amount committed to the facility stands at N$16 million, and his ministry is engaging other stakeholders to also support the facility.

Nedbank and the United Nations Development Programme this morning committed N$1 million and N$1,5 million respectively.

“Covid-19 is crippling the benefits of conservancies. The tourism sector is the hardest hit with 0 tourists arrivals in the country for four months and it is likely to persist throughout the rest of 2020. Job losses are worse in rural areas as people live off wild life and it was already weakened by the drought,” he said.

He said conservation tourism contributes N$60 million to the economy, with a separate N$65 million paid in salaries.

“Over 2 000 jobs are in jeopardy, and communal conservancy projects are under threat,” Shifeta said.

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