News from 2022-12-22 / KfW Development Bank

KfW promotes biodiversity conservation in West Africa

Ensuring the continued existence and effective management of national parks in Benin and Niger

Signing of the contract by FSOA President Servais Adjovi, Nigrian Minister for the Environment and the Fight against Desertification Saratou Rabiou Inoussa and KfW Portfolio Manager Stefan Kliesch on 09.12.22 in Cotonou (l.t.r.).

The W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) National Park Complex is the largest contiguous savannah conservation area in West Africa and impresses above all with its unique biodiversity. The protected area, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the only viable population of the endangered West African lion and the largest and most stable elephant population in West Africa (85% of all savannah elephants). Ecologically important wetlands are also located on its territory. To protect this natural heritage in the Niger and Benin parts, KfW signed contracts for a total of EUR 35 million with the FSOA and the Beninese and Nigerien partner governments in Cotonou on 09 December 2022 on behalf of the German Federal Government.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the tri-national Fondation des Savanes Ouest Africaines (FSOA) and parallel to the World Biodiversity Conference taking place at the same time in Montréal, the ceremonial conclusion of two financing agreements between KfW and partners for the conservation of biodiversity in the WAP complex in Cotonou took place. Among those present were the Beninese Minister of the Environment José Didier Tonato, the Nigrian Minister of the Environment Saratou Rabiou Inoussa, the German Ambassador Michael Derus and the FSOA President Servais Adjovi.

Support for parks and neighbouring residents

The W-Arly-Pendjari complex is located in a region plagued by increasing instability. Since 2020, tourists - until then an increasingly important source of income - have no longer been able to visit the parks because of the danger of terrorist attacks. Added to this is the increasing pressure of use on the natural resources of soil, water, flora and fauna due to high population growth in the the adjacent zones. All this makes a sustainable financing mechanism for anti-poaching and local population support in the WAP region necessary.

KfW's main objective in recent years on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has therefore been to support the FSOA in establishing a financing mechanism that can continuously and permanently fund the operating costs of the national parks in the WAP complex. To this end, Financial Cooperation (FC) successively provided capital for the Benin financing window. In recent years, it has been possible to invest the capital so profitably on the international capital market that the FSOA has been able to use the returns on capital since the beginning of the year to finance part of the operating costs of the national parks.

With the help of additional project funds, the FSOA has decisively co-financed the administration and expansion of the infrastructure in the Beninese national parks Pendjari and W since its founding. For example, around 300 park rangers have been recruited and trained, the salaries and social security contributions of the rangers have been paid and over 3,400 ground patrols to combat poaching have been implemented to date. Furthermore, the FC funds made it possible to build 23 surveillance posts and over 3,500 kilometres of trails, and to procure 54 vehicles for park surveillance. In addition, 1,230 schoolchildren from the neighbouring villages were able to visit the Pendjari National Park and numerous environmental education activities were carried out.

Elefantenherde im Nationalpark

Successful cooperation between FSOA, partner ministries and KfW

In his speech, the Beninese Minister of Environment, José Didier Tonato, praised the remarkable development of the FSOA over the past 10 years into one of the most important conservation financiers in the WAP transboundary protected area complex and highlighted in this context the significant support of Financial and Technical Cooperation for the FSOA and the conservation of the WAP complex.

The FSOA was established in 2012 to provide permanent funding for protected area management in the WAP complex by the State of Benin with the support of the World Conservation Organization. In 2019 and 2020, the countries of Burkina Faso and Niger officially joined.

KfW has supported the FSOA on behalf of BMZ since its inception, providing a total of EUR 41.9 million between 2014 and 2021. Since then, the German Agency for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), in close coordination with KfW, has supported partner ministries and park authorities in meeting the requirements for FSOA funding. Funding is also being provided for numerous income-generating measures in the areas bordering the national parks - e.g. in the areas of agroforestry and beekeeping - which are important for strengthening the resilience of the population.

The signing of the contract on 9 December 2022 in Cotonou is the result of the successful cooperation between FSOA, KfW and the partner ministries. Under the tripartite financing agreement between the State of Niger, FSOA and KfW, EUR 20 million will be provided for the initial capitalisation of the Niger Window and EUR 5 million to finance adjacent zones measures and urgent protected area activities in the W-Niger Park. The funds generated from the interest income of the endowment capital benefit the management and maintenance of the parks. In order to generate higher returns on capital for the sustainable financing of protected area activities in Pendjari and Park-W-Benin, the capital stock of the Benin Window will also be increased by EUR 10 million. This capital increase is particularly relevant due to the increased park management costs caused by the difficult security situation in the WAP complex.

Contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

With the aim of preserving the special biodiversity of the nature conservation complex, KfW contributes with the FSOA projects to the sustainable development goals 15 ("Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, manage forests sustainably, combat desertification, halt and reverse soil degradation and halt biodiversity loss") and 13 ("Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts") of the 2030 Agenda. Financial Cooperation is continuing its commitment in West Africa and is thereby directly contributing to the implementiion of the resolutions of the World Conservation Conference COP15 in Montréal.