We seek trade, not Aid! - Gandiwa

Zimbabwean ecologist, Patience Gandiwa conveyed to the British legislators, predominantly consisting of House of Lords members, that Africa must engage in trade and not depend on aid from Britain in order to thrive. Gandiwa was part of a six-nation delegation accompanying Botswana’s Minister of Tourism, Dumizweni Mthimkhulu, vigorously advocating against the Trophy Hunting Import (Prohibition) Bill in the British Parliament. She addressed concerns raised by some individuals in the UK regarding potential interventions, specifically mentioning UK Aid for biodiversity landscapes and in response, she asserted: 'We seek trade, not aid.” She said the era of perpetual dependency is in the past.

"As representatives of southern Africa, we aspire to shape our own destiny in stewarding and conserving our wildlife heritage, free from reliance on Britain. We refuse to revisit a time when British legislation negatively impacted our people. It is our hope that the value of sustainable trade in contributing to wildlife conservation is recognized and understood." Gandiwa has over 16 years of experience in terms of understanding the ecology of wildlife and is a director responsible for international conservation affairs with the Parks and wildlife Management Authority.

She asked a rhetoric questions on what the Bill was intended to fix? "Suppose we say maybe across the landscape of Africa, there are some countries where this can be applicable or where the claims that are accompanying this proposed bill could make sense. Why then put everything for all the African countries; do you need to treat them with the same approach?" Further that whether the impact is minimal since the Bill is based on the statistics of trophies that are imported into the UK.

"We would say No it won’t be the minimum because one of the greatest danger in the mindset impact, is the messaging that it brings with it, we would say well, when we look at a country with a declining populations, perhaps trophy hunting is one of the problems that have been identified there, what message are were telling those countries like Zimbabwe which is one of the leading countries with successful conservation programs and with the second largest elephant population in the world? the fourth largest rhino population in the world and it's one of the few countries where you find increasing numbers of carnivores; there is a lot that we are doing right." She decried that by victimising countries doing well in conservation there wont be incentives for others to emulate them.

"There will be no incentive to actual be in the situation of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa because of there would be no benefits from growing their populations." She observed that the proposed amendment would make sense because it will show acknowledgement when there is sustainable conservation of wildlife.