Scan opportunities from funds to aid indigenous communities

26Nov 2021
The Guardian
Scan opportunities from funds to aid indigenous communities

​​​​​​​NOT much has been said by experts in broad daylight as to what society can expect from the use of about 3.9 trillion shillings earmarked by stakeholders on environment conservation at the global level, to assist integrative efforts for indigenous peoples to the north of the country.

The idea is to fund means and ways enabling them to pursue life as they are used to, in ways that do not add pressure to critical spheres of the tourism and heritage sites ecosystem in the zone. Still there are a number of unresolved issues as to how this is done or the matter is hidden in the detail, which the government can use to definite advantage.

One such method is to read the intention of the funding as enabling indigenous peoples to adapt in ways that are agreeable to themselves but which may need optimal funding, in which case they put those funds in a surprisingly substantive manner even compared to the COVID-19 impact reduction funds. In that case innovative interpretation may include substantial payoff for communities in the marked zone to vacate so that environmental organizations take up the zones, to ensure no more encroachment occurs.

And as such organizations would be conducting tourism, research and other activities which attract investments or funding, they would be lent out from the funds to purchase the zones, repay in 20 years.

Judging by the amount of funds allocated for the purpose, it is evident that nearly all of the surplus population within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, who have given the government a headache as to what can be done, could be shifted with incentives from those funds. But there is a proviso in terms of the method to be used, that if such funds are distributed to public agencies in charge of the various zones where conservation is in peril (including heritage sites and water sources) chances of misusing these vast amounts rise. Loaning them to private conservation firms wishing to set up conservation inclined business activity would serve the purpose better, and as they would repay the cash gradually, it makes a difference.

With an effort, the central bank (where such funds are transmitted depending on the mode, if it is in bulk or on the basis of a certain schedule, for instance tied to performance) can stock the cash and use it as a fallback fund to enhance its low rate loans to commercial banks. The latter could use such facilities to rebuild a credible lending base that was disrupted in 2017 when fixed or long term deposits of Parastatal organizations were withdrawn, but admittedly the central bank has over the past six months sought to provide alternative facilities. It is like bond purchasing of bank assets for a while, to build their capacity.

 Combining private sector based funding for conservation including habitat change for those encroaching on key zones (heritage sites, wildlife corridors, and water sources) shall meet the funding objective, and more.