The total cash income and in-kind benefits generated in conservancies (including the Kyaramacan Association) grew from less than N$ 1 million in 1998 to more than N$ 147 million in 2018. This includes all directly measurable income and in-kind benefits being generated, and can be divided into conservancy income in cash (mostly through partnerships with private sector operators), household cash income to residents from enterprises (mostly through employment and the sale of products), non-cash benefits to residents such as contributions to community infrastructure, and the distribution of harvested game meat.
The terminology of income, benefits and returns
For clarity, the following terms are consistently used in this report:
Income – indicates cash income received as payment for goods or services, either by organisations or individuals
Benefits – indicates benefits distributed by a conservancy as dividends or social benefits, or by the private sector as fringe benefits and donations; these go to communities or individual households and can be divided into three types:
- cash benefits are dividends paid to conservancy members from conservancy income
- in-kind benefits include meat distribution and fringe benefits from tourism employment such as staff housing, etc.
- social benefits are investments in community initiatives including education facilities, health services, etc.
Returns – combine income and benefits and indicate overall returns, either to individuals, communities or conservancies.
Sources of returns to conservancies and their members in 2018
|Source of cash income and in-kind benefits||Value in N$||Percentage|
|Joint-venture tourism (includes all cash income and in-kind benefits to conservancies and members)||93,771,228||63.6|
|Conservation hunting (includes all cash income and meat to conservancies and members)||34,463,053||23.4|
|Game harvesting and problem animal control (includes all cash income and meat to conservancies and members)||5,173,242||3.5|
|Indigenous plant products||4,855,440||3.3|
|Miscellaneous (e.g. interest)||2,820,567||1.9|
Four sample conservancies illustrate the large variation between conservancies in sources of natural resource returns.
The "Cash income and in-kind benefits" bar charts show total cash income and in-kind benefits over time, and the "Sources of returns" pie charts illustrate the ratios between sources of returns. The "Disbursements" bar charts show disbursements within conservancies, which also vary considerably. While some conservancies pay out substantial cash benefits to households, others provide broader social benefits to resident communities.
Cash income and in-kind benefits
Note that the y-axis scale differs between the charts.
Sources of returns
Returns from tourism and consumptive wildlife use
Tourism and consumptive wildlife use generate the largest portions of conservancy returns. The merits of hunting as a conservation tool compared to photographic tourism are often debated intensely. CBNRM emphasises the importance of using the broadest range of indigenous resources possible, in order to enhance their value and ensure their protection, as well as the protection of large areas of natural habitat.
The Namibian model illustrates the value of generating returns from both tourism and the consumptive use of wildlife. Rising returns are facilitated through strategic partnerships with the private sector, which offers specialised skills and market linkages. Capacity building and skills transfer create further benefits. The figures compare the benefits generated by these two important sectors since the commencement of conservancy creation in 1998.
The complementary roles of sustainable consumptive wildlife use and joint-venture tourism operations
The map portrays which conservancies depend mostly on tourism income to cover their running costs, and which rely mostly on conservation hunting and game harvesting.
Hunting is clearly a vital source of cash income in a high proportion of conservancies, without which many conservancies would not have been able to form, or to attain financial viability. However, tourism is an increasingly important source of income. Although the map shows the main source of income, it is important to note that some conservancies have a mix of income from tourism and hunting, whereas some rely almost exclusively on hunting. The loss of this income would pose a considerable problem for conservation (see maps below).
The maps below illustrate the importance of income generated through sustainable consumptive wildlife use for selected conservancies* (first map). The loss of this income would result in a negative cash flow for most of these conservancies, which would no longer be able to cover their running costs (second map). These costs include game guards, who are vital in the prevention of poaching and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict.
Those conservancies relying mostly on tourism, would be able to adjust their activities to fit a reduced income, but would become less effective in managing their resources. Those conservancies relying mostly on hunting would become unsustainable.
* Figures include the Kyaramacan Association in Bwabwata National Park