On 24th February 2020, Kasane, Botswana, the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Honorable Phildha Nani Kereng, together with the German Ambassador to Botswana, His Excellency Mr. Ralf Breth launched and handed over three projects funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, through the German Development Bank (KfW) support to the Kavango–Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).
First to be launched was the automated water quality monitoring project for the Okavango and Chobe rivers. The project’s objective is to monitor chemical and biological constituents of water in the two river systems with a view to detect and address water pollution risks. The project which has installed state-of-the art equipment at five strategic points along the Okavango and Chobe River Systems, cost EUR 240,000.00. The installed equipment, among other features, has real time and early warning capacities for effective monitoring of water quality and address pollution risks from various sources including tourism facilities, industries, agriculture and domestic waste. The project is developed and implemented with oversight from Botswana’s Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control.
The Minister described the water quality monitoring project as a key environmental management intervention by the Government of Botswana. She noted that water is a key resource and appealed for similar environmental monitoring to be replicated in other KAZA Partner States to ensure the attainment of the objectives of the KAZA TFCA. Minister Kereng observed that the real time feature of the equipment enables the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control to react immediately to detected pollution threats while the early warning feature helps with planning for potential future risks.
In Pandamatenga, the Minister and the German Ambassador to Botswana, Mr. Ralf Breth, handed over staff accommodation to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks constructed at two major wildlife camps in the Chobe District. The first staff accommodation project, implemented at a cost of about EUR 330,000 involved the construction of six (6)houses, and the procurement and installation of a new 200 KVA power transformer at Pandamatenga Wildlife Camp. The new houses have increased the number of houses from four (4) to ten (10), enough to accommodate the staff stationed at the Camp. Pandamantenga, a major arable farming area at both commercial and subsistence scale, is a special economic zone for Botswana. Human Wildlife conflict (HWC), especially by crop raiding animals, has been a major concern in the area. The challenge of inadequate accommodation at the wildlife camp compromised the efforts by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to combat human wildlife conflict.
The second staff accommodation project, the construction of eight (8) staff houses at Savuti wildlife camp in the Chobe National Park, was implemented at a cost of about EUR 630,000. The project also involved the procurement and installation of two 50KVA power generators at the cost of about EUR 50,000. The project has improved the staff accommodation and the aesthetics of the area.
The two staff accommodation projects not only improved the living conditions of the wildlife officers but also provided employment opportunities for the community members employed during the construction phase. All the three projects are part of the identified priorities in the integrated development plan for the Botswana component for KAZA TFCA and were funded under Phase I and II of the support from the Federal Republic of Germany support to KAZA TFCA.
Honorable Kereng expressed gratitude for the support received from the German Government through KfW, for the staff houses at the two wildlife camps wildlife camps. She noted that decent accommodation is going to motivate the staffSpeaking at the handover of the staff houses, the German Ambassador to Botswana, His Excellency Mr. Ralf Breth, expressed his satisfaction with the projects accomplished with support from the German Government. He noted that the partnership with the KAZA TFCA is an important one, and it was pleasing to see the successful completion and handover of both the water quality monitoring and staff accommodation projects. Ambassador Breth indicated that the Germany Government’s support to KAZA TFCA and Partner States was long term as evidenced by the signing of the KAZA Phase III support valued at 15.5 million Euros.
The two events were attended by several stakeholders including traditional leaders and government officials from Chobe District. In his vote of thanks, Member of Parliament for the Chobe District, also the Acting Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science & technology, Hon. Machana R. Shamukuni, thanked the Federal Republic of Germany for the continued support to the KAZA TFCA. He also called for care in the use of the infrastructure and equipment and collective efforts to reduce vandalism.