Continuing with their support to Wildlife Conservation and Management Programme, European Commission (EC) and Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism on Tuesday signed a P88 million infrastructure development contract with the Italtswana Construction Company.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Head of the European delegation to Botswana, Ambassador Paul Malin, explained that the contract would finance the construction of facilities in the Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans National Parks and Moremi Game Reserve.
He said the EC, through the 8th European Development Fund (EDF), would contribute a maximum of P44 million topped up by the same amount by the government of Botswana.
Facilities that will be constructed include protected area entrance gates, including the Moremi North and South Gates, and Makgadikgadi/Nxai pans National Parks. Additional stores and working areas for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks will be built. The contract also includes the construction of serviced campsites with ablution blocks for tourists and visitors at both parks, and the protected area outposts, with staff housing and additional staff houses at Moremi North and South Gates and Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans National Parks. More offices at Moremi South Gate and at Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans National Parks are going to be built.
?I have seen for myself the wild beauty of Moremi, the benefits communities can derive from protection of the environment and the need for better facilities for visitors,? said Malin. The programme, he said, will be a very visible example of European cooperation with Botswana.
?The EU is proud to contribute to the protection of Botswana?s unique natural heritage and to communities and the country at large. I do so in the expectation that it will also be a contribution to improving conditions for Batswana living in difficult circumstances in remote areas,? added Malin.
Botswana has long benefited from EC support and accessed a number of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EC has directly financed interventions in the field of natural resources, from environment conservation in developing countries and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to co-financing the Commission?s budget lines. In addition, Botswana has benefited from some of the EDF regional funding for Southern Africa, channeled mostly via SADC.