The partnership between the European Union (EU) and Botswana government was yesterday cemented with the official launch of tourism infrastructural projects at the three popular tourism destinations of Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks.
The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Kitso Mokaila and the Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Botswana and SADC, Ambassador Paul Malin, performed the official handing of the projects.
The P88 million infrastructure was co-financed by the EU and the government of Botswana with the EU through the 8th European Development Fund (EDF) contributed Ôé¼5.5 million (about P55 million at current exchange rates) topped up by the Government of Botswana.
As part of this programme, the government, with support from the European Union, has constructed infrastructure in the national parks, improved conservation and management and enhanced community development.
Malin said at the opening ceremony yesterday that the European Union was pleased to have supported a programme to protect one of Botswana’s greatest resources, its natural environment and to promote it to provide jobs and income for Botswana.
“Our cooperation programme moves on to a new phase, but we will continue to support development and diversification in Botswana while protecting the environment,” he stated.
The Ôé¼14 million project for Wildlife Conservation and Management Programme dates from October 2002. It was co-funded by the European Union under the 8th European Development Fund (EDF).
Earlier phases covered the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Chobe, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and others.
The programme provides support for the conservation and sustainable use of Botswana’s protected reserves and adjacent community managed areas. It forms part of a 20-year support which has now been concluded.
The funding from the two partners was used to build facilities in the Moremi Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks.
The facilities included the protected area entrance gates, including Tourist Centres at Moremi North and South Gates and at Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans National Parks and additional stores and working areas for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks at Moremi, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks.
Others were serviced campsites with ablution blocks for tourists and visitors at Moremi, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks and protected area outposts with staff housing and additional staff houses at Moremi North and South Gates and Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks.
The funds also went to build offices at Moremi South Gate and at Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Parks.