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Govt To Review National Parks' Management Concessions

Usi; concessionaires should put people living around protected areas first before animals Usi; concessionaires should put people living around protected areas first before animals

Government says it will review all national parks' management concessions, to make them beneficial to Malawians than favouring foreigners.

Speaking in Lilongwe during a press briefing alongside Peace Parks, a South African tourism company, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi said that ending human-animal conflict is nothing if people's livelihood around the parks is not improved.

Usi has challenged concessionaires to put people living around protected areas first before animals, as this will create a good relationship for smooth management of protected and tourism areas.

Usi said that the ministry will thus review all concessions and ensure that they favour Malawians, adding that foreign companies should add value, and not exploit.

He further said that the review will be done, basing that we are living in a generation where people want to see what is being done on the ground, hence people surrounding the reserves should have basic needs.

"We have big budgets that are benefitting animals, what about the people surrounding those facilities? We should also think about the welfare of our people", said Usi.

He added, "We are living in a generation of people that understand what national development indicators look like, and as such do not need to wait until people start asking questions".

The minister said that government has not paid particular attention as regards to the agreements, where people should be at the center of it all by benefiting through better roads, potable water, and schools among other things.

Manager of Peace Parks which is managing Nyika and Vwaza protection areas Arrie Van Wyk has said that they will ensure that in fifteen years period, Malawians should be able to benefit fully from the 20 million dollars concession.

He said that for his organization, there is a lot of work to be done, like when the management signs the agreement with government, they will use that for a lot of investment that needs to be carried out.

"There's only one way in and one way out and when it rains, it is a slippery slope and becomes difficult to access. We want to talk to the Immigration Department so that they open a permanent office so travelers can fly indirectly," Van Wyk said.

"The business plan is that 20 million dollars is needed every fifteen to twenty-year period, and first we have to look at infrastructure. Malawi is a tourism country, and there's a need for tourism investors," he added.

The Peace Parks manages the Malawi-Zambia conservation areas which include Vwaza and Nyika areas, with the Malawian enterprise managed with 20 million dollars.

Malawi has eco-tourism and protected area management concessions.

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