Zimbabwe and Botswana have held a two day planning workshop to discuss the development of the Hwange-Kazuma-Chobe wildlife dispersal area as part of the initiatives to mitigate cases of human-wildlife conflict in the two countries.

The meeting, which was held at Hwange National Park, was coordinated by the Kavango Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) and is being funded by a German development bank, KFW to the tune of 1,9 million euros.

The workshop also promoted participation of communities in the identification and implementation of the chosen projects which will be spread over the next five years.

KAZA-TFCA CEO, Dr Morris Mutsambiwa said the development programme will also promote communities living adjacent to wildlife areas to enable them to participate in tourism so that their benefits become more tangible.

“There is a movement of wildlife between these three national parks, from Hwange National Park into Kazuma National Park and into Chobe National Park in Botswana. So that route is what we are following and as that movement is undertaken, there is likely to be conflict between wildlife and people. Kaza is all about promoting free movement of wildlife and also tourism development along those routes. This is contained in what we are calling our Master Integrated Development Plan, which is looking at trans-boundary projects,” he said.

Gwayi, Matetsi and Mabale areas in Hwange are some of the communities which are part of this project.

Similar meetings involving Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia have been held in Katima Mulilo in Namibia to address challenges caused by the movement of wildlife across their borders.

The two day workshop was attended by government officials from the two countries, local authorities, academia, local communities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.