By Edwin Mbulo
Tourism and arts minister Jean Kapata says fighting poaching is just like fighting drug curtails, a war that cannot be won without coordination of African governments.
According to a statement by Percy Ngwira, who is Zambia's United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) liaison officer, African tourism ministers have also appealed for help from the UNWTO if the continent was to curb the high levels of poaching.
Ngwira stated that the ministers attending the UNWTO 56th Commission for Africa meeting in Luanda, Angola, unanimously agreed to tackle the problem of poaching with the vigour it deserved.
"The fight against poaching cannot be done in isolation; African governments need to come together and find a common ground on this critical issue that is threatening our tourism in Africa. Why do international tourists come to Africa? It's because of our animals in their natural wonder and if these animals are finished, then what will attract these tourists to come and bring us the much needed foreign income? We all must realise that in this fight, we may be fighting criminal gangs and curtails just like in drug trafficking and we will not win this war if we don't work together," Kapata said.
She said despite individual countries making efforts to stop the problem, nothing much was being done at continental level.
The ministers called for the engagement of end users of the poached animal products and agreed on an African Indaba that would bring together ministers responsible for tourism and those responsible for the environment under which wildlife falls in many countries so that the problem could be given the attention it deserved.
Kapata was also expected to attend a trilateral meeting with her Zimbabwean counterpart Walter Mzembi and Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO secretary general, to recap on the successful co-hosting of last year's 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly by Zambia and Zimbabwe.