Keynote address delivered by the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Mp, during the meeting to promote investment opportunities in Transfrontier Conservation Areas to the business community in Nagoya, Japan

25 Oct 2010

Honourable ministers
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished guests from various business entities in Japan
Ladies and gentlemen

My fellow ministers and I are delighted and honoured to welcome you all to this business meeting where we will show case Transfrontier Conservation Areas that straddle the borders of nine Southern African countries and the business opportunities available in these areas for consideration by the business community. Your presence here today is truly appreciated.

Southern Africa has recently enjoyed significant global coverage during the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This event provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to shape the image of our region and to highlight our tourist attractions and business opportunities. We showed the world that working together we can do more. We were delighted to see the Japanese team proceeding to the next round on the African soil.

Your culture of success and perseverance in running businesses has encouraged us to see Japan as a potential partner. Your businesses are not just successful but sustainable.

This has encouraged us to invite you that we share with you our singular success story on pioneering transfrontier conservation work, which is about cross border conservation, an important step towards playing a meaningful role in conserving the natural estate of the region. Transfrontier Conservation Areas connect our countries and ecosystems and enable us to work together in conserving our unique and significant biodiversity in these shared ecosystems whilepromoting cultural heritage preservation and economic growth through tourism development.

After all, most of the southern Africa’s key tourist attractions such as the mighty Victoria Falls, the majestic Ukahlamba-Drakensberg, the extensive Okavango Delta, the great Fish River Canyon, Kruger National Park, expansive deserts and spectacular rivers are located in transfrontier conservation areas.

Transfrontier conservation areas have been instrumental in cementing cooperation of the southern African countries and we have been cooperating in the area of conservation and tourism development for more than a decade. We believe that nature-based tourism is a conservation tool as it creates an enabling environment for conservation to pay for itself and improve the well being of local communities.

We further believe that investment in tourism facilities, supporting infrastructure and services will unlock the tremendous potential of the industry to address current regional development needs and contribute to the achievement of at least two Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) of eradicating extreme poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Ladies and gentlemen, you will be pleased to note that we have packaged 51 investment projects in seven transfrontier conservation areas that straddle the borders of 9 southern African countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The projects range from rustic to five star luxury accommodation facilities. The bulk of the products are in the mid-range category of accommodation and opportunities include three and four star lodges, house boats and hotels. The total estimated value of packaged investment opportunities is ZAR 1 billion (US$ 167 million).

The investment promotion process was launched in October 2008 and so far 4 projects have secured investors. 47 projects are still available and they will be presented to you in this meeting.

I trust that business people gathered here today share our philosophy that emphasises the importance of a healthy relationship between nature, commerce, culture and community. I trust that your participation in this meeting will be rewarding and would like to thank you once again for your attendance.

Without partnerships and investment, conservation cannot benefit those whose survival is dependent on it. Let us therefore work together to create new opportunities that utilise the unique offerings in our region. Let us take delight in the connections between us and focus our collective creativity, ingenuity and passion on sharing the treasures of our beautiful region with the rest of the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government of Japan for hosting the tenth meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity for allowing us to showcase our beautiful region against the backdrop of the Conference of the Parties meeting.

I thank you.

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871

Peter Mbelengwa
Cell: 082 611 8197

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs

Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
25 Oct 2010