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Journal of African Business Issue 4

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Welcome to Journal of African Business, your guide to business and investment on the continent. The fourth edition of Journal of African Business is the second issue of this magazine to be published as a quarterly. The first two journals were published as annual publications in 2020 and 2021. The Journal of African Business covers a wide range of subjects within the broader economic sectors: energy; mining and exploration; trade; finance; technology and tourism. In addition to this, special features on topical matters are included, along with country profiles.


WHAT COVID-19 TRAVEL BANS HAVE DONE TO CONSERVATION TOURISM IN AFRICA Researchers Alex Braczkowski and Duan Biggs analyse the extent of the damage done to continental tourism and suggest strategies to help it recover. This article first appeared in The Conversation. Overwhelmingly, the majority of Africa’s protected areas (both private and public) took a massive blow from the collapse in tourism. In South Africa, lockdowns caused a 96% drop in tourist visits to national parks under SANParks management. This equated to about 90% of tourism revenue, highlighting the fragility and risk of a sector that’s reliant on a single primary income stream. This also caused anxiety about health and job security among park staff. MMore than two years have passed since the World Health A male lion walks on the Satara road of the Kruger National Park, trailed by tourist vehicles. Credit: Alex Braczkowski Organization announced Covid-19 as a global health emergency and pandemic. It’s estimated that the resulting reductions in travel in 2020 alone wiped US.5-trillion from the global tourism economy and cost millions of jobs. In Africa, half of all the people working in tourism lost their jobs. A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report estimated a further .7-.4-trillion could be lost from the global tourism sector to the end of 2021. In Africa these losses are projected at 0-3 billion. Tourism is an important source of funding for managing protected areas and provides jobs for people living near national parks and wildlife. When travel to protected and conserved areas such as national parks and community conservancies is cancelled en masse, jobs and conservation management are placed at risk. We studied several peer-reviewed studies and economic reports published over the last 12 months to examine the effects the pandemic has had on tourism to conservation areas in Africa, and to look for any signs of recovery. Griffith University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU. The Conversation is funded by the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and South Africa. It is hosted by the universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. In Africa, half of all the people working in tourism lost their jobs. A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report estimated a further .7-.4-trillion could be lost from the global tourism sector to the end of 2021. In Africa these losses are projected at 0-3 billion. In Uganda, national parks typically generate 88% of their revenue from tourist entrance fees. A collapse in tourism visitation between July and December 2020 erased roughly .4-million from the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s annual budget. This hampered core management activities such as anti-poaching and there’s evidence that poaching doubled in the county’s two largest parks between February and May of 2020. Private wildlife industries weren’t spared either. In South Africa between March and May of 2020 alone, cancelled hunting trips, live sales of animals and the sale of meat products resulted in losses totalling 6-million. While the contributions of travel and tourism to GDP in African states dropped in line with the global 2020 average (Africa experienced a 49.2% decline while the global average was 49.5%), Africans working in the tourism sector suffered disproportionate job losses, falling 29.3% (representing 7.2-million jobs) compared to the global average of 21.5%. In Botswana, the 2020 lockdowns led to about 99% of the country’s tourism workforce being temporarily or permanently laid off. These cases of job loss are particularly notable because most African nations have not had the same economic safety nets and relief packages as those in wealthier parts of the world, such as western Europe or Australia. The lack of economic safety nets is most felt by people working in Africa’s informal tourism economy (such as porters in Uganda’s gorilla trekking industry, or mokoro polers in Botswana’s Okavango Delta) who tend to make just a few US dollars per day. LOOKING AHEAD Although tourist arrivals for Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa were no better in 2021, and budgets for protected areas continue to be cut, stretching an already severely depleted park ranger 26

TOURISM force, there are some glimmers of hope. June, July and August saw significantly better occupancy in North, Southern and Sub- Saharan African hotels. Moreover, a recently assembled expert panel from the United Nations World Tourism Organization expected travel levels to Africa to get back to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 or 2024. A number of strategies have been tried by different stakeholders to strengthen protected areas and related livelihoods in response to the pandemic. These include domestic tourism, contactless and virtual tourism and novel conservation financing such as direct payments for wildlife conservation. Banks can help safari operators by reducing rates, waiving penalties and rescheduling loan repayments. Many countries are encouraging residents to travel locally and visit national parks. The Uganda Wildlife Authority, for example, cut entrance fees to national parks by 50%. Botswana cut entrance fees by up to 70%. There has also been an uptick in the use of contactless methods for tourism. Virtual safaris were an almost immediate response to the global pandemic in some wildlife reserves in South Africa. Finally, innovative ways of financing conservation land and the communities supporting wildlife conservation are on the horizon. For instance, the World Bank pledged US-million towards a wildlife bond for the endangered black rhino. Its aim is to sell a bond to investors that will yield investments directly tied to the population increases of the species in South Africa. Mechanisms like this could supplement existing conservation land carbon-offsetting schemes like those found in Kenya and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Importantly, African tourism recovery will depend on the progress made with vaccination rates, not only of international tourists but of the citizens of African countries. Currently African countries suffer from the highest rates of vaccine inequality anywhere in the world. Addressing this inequity is not only a global ethical issue but will allow for a relaxing of travel restrictions linked to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Without it, global herd immunity remains out of reach and so does the recovery in tourism that Africa so desperately needs. Banks can help safari operators by reducing rates, waiving penalties and rescheduling loan repayments. Jimmy Kisembo, a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger, looks up at a lion on his daily monitoring patrol in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Credit: Alex Braczkowski Veterinarians treat a wounded elephant in Ishasha, Uganda. Tourism is the main source of revenue for such activities in many of Africa’s national parks. Credit: Alex Braczkowski ABOUT THE AUTHORS Alexander Richard Braczkowski is a Scientist at Southern University of Science and Technology and Resilient Conservation Group, Griffith University, Australia. Duan Biggs is Senior Research Fellow Social-Ecological Systems & Resilience, Griffith University, the Olajos Goslow Chair of Environmental Science and Policy at Northern Arizona University and has an adjunct appointment at Stellenbosch University. 27

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