The Republic of Congo Brazzaville has sought Kenya’s expertise in operationalizing and building the capacity of a newly established Congo Agency for Fauna and Protected Areas (CAFPA).
The central African country would like Kenya Wildlife Service to build its new agency’s capacity in resource mobilization, ecotourism projects, wildlife management and security and promotion of Congo as a tourism destination.
The request was made by His Excellency Jean Pierre Ossey, the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN Habitat, when he paid a courtesy call on Kenya Wildlife Service Director, Mr William Kiprono, in Nairobi this morning.
“We have approached Kenya Wildlife Service as the first partner in the plan to get the wildlife agency running because of Kenya’s experience and leadership position it has acquired in Africa,” Mr Ossey said.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Mr Alain Nonouk Gomat, a counsellor at the embassy, and Mr Bonaventure Ebayi, the director of the Nairobi-based regional wildlife agency, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) which fosters cooperation among African states in fighting illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. Mr Ebayi comes from the Republic of Congo Brazzaville.
Mr Gomat said his country which is part of the Congo Basin forest, the world’s second largest after the Amazon Basin, is rich in biodiversity resources.
The creation of the agency, which was gazetted in October 2012, is supported by the European Union. Congo is among the 37 African elephant range states and is also home to endangered Great apes, especially the gorilla.
Mr Gomat reiterated that the main areas of support required from Kenya include operationazation of the agency’s structure, research, financing, investigations into wildlife crime, intelligence and wildlife industry governance.
“For long, wildlife in Congo has not been generating income but now we would like to focus on conservation and sustainable development by considering our wildlife it as an economic asset through ecotourism,” he noted.
Mr Gomat said Congo was particularly keen on learning from the Kenya Wildlife Service experience in managing partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private sector, civil society and communities.
Mr Kiprono welcomed the initiative and promised to present the request by the Congolese government to the KWS Board of Trustees for consideration. He said KWS was restructuring and was impressed that the Congolese government gave such high priority to the wildlife docket by placing it under the presidency.
He noted that Kenya was supporting and collaborating with other African states in wildlife conservation, especially South Sudan, Cameroon, Gabon and Gambia. “African countries have no choice but to collaborate in security, research and tourism for sustainable and effective management of wildlife,” Mr Kiprono said.