Rwanda in drive to boost investment in Wildlife economy as President Paul Kagame joins Giants club
The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has become the sixth sitting African Head of State to join the Giants Club in a bid to show and strengthen his country’s commitment to protect wildlife habitats while unlocking greater value from nature-based businesses.
Kagame joined the Club in a signing ceremony held in Kigali, in the presence of Dr Max Graham, founder and CEO of Space for Giants, and Lord Lebedev, patron of Space for Giants and of the Giants Club.
He now joins counterparts like Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who are joint leaders of the Club. Botswana’s Former President Ian Khama currently acts as President Emeritus.
Rwanda’s growing population of endangered mountain gorillas has made the country famous worldwide both for protecting the species and also using the proceeds of gorilla tourism for wider national social benefit. The country’s total population of mountain gorillas stands at about 700 individuals.
“Rwanda under President Kagame’s leadership has become a beacon for how a country can build conservation into a national economic sector to benefit all. That resonates very strongly with the Giants Club, which promotes best practice in getting things done in conservation (which) delivers those wide rewards from protecting natural landscapes and their species. We are incredibly proud and excited that President Kagame has joined the Giants Club,” Dr Graham said.
The Giants Club is an initiative of the international conservation organization Space for Giants that connects leaders of African states with significant large mammal populations to financiers, conservationists, scientists, and well-known supporters.
Together, these individuals combine their political muscle, extensive financial resources, pioneering scientific expertise, and global reach and influence to fulfil the Club’s goal to protect Africa’s remaining populations of large animals and their habitats.
Its primary path to achieving this is to support governments as they build their ‘nature economies’, linking them to renewed investment in conservation that boosts sustainable businesses and brings jobs as well as protects environments.
Currently, Rwanda is fixing its focus on restoring a network of national parks, including Akagera, which hosts the ‘Big Five’ like elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhino and uses proceeds from both domestic and international tourism to fund national development.
While joining the club, Kagame agreed to support and endorse the Giants Club, promote domestic and international investment in responsible conservation and tourism enterprises to create new revenue.
He also agreed to promote private-public sector partnerships aimed at achieving effective management of natural ecosystems and direct investments in protected area landscapes and Work to combat the illegal wildlife trade in Rwanda and its neighbors and Work to reduce the problem of human-wildlife conflict.