Africa’s Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA) includes land in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It is one of Africa’s last wildernesses.
Wildlife and environmental campaigners have called for international action as concerns grow over a project to create a massive oilfield. ReconAfrica, a Canadian oil and gas company, has licensed drilling areas in over 34,000sq km of land in parts of northern Namibia and Botswana. ReconAfrica says there is the potential to extract 120 billion barrels of oil from this field.
A large part of the exploration areas in both Botswana and Namibia falls within the Okavango River Basin which flows into the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which supports the world’s largest remaining population of endangered savanna elephants, as well as dozens of other endangered or vulnerable species such as rhinos, wild dogs, and pangolins. It is also home to 200,000 people.
Campaigners fear the project could do untold damage to the delta’s ecosystem, threatening already endangered wildlife, the environment, and the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people who live on the land. The project will also impact local communities and farmers, and there are concerns that these groups have not been engaged properly in consultations over the project.