President arrives in Botswana for elephant summit President Mnangagwa

Samuel Kadungure in KASANE, Botswana
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday for the Kasane Elephant Summit which is expected to bring together three other Heads of State whose countries are part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area to discuss a common policy towards the management of jumbos.

He was received at Kasane International Airport by the host country’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Ms Unity Dow, and Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira.

The President was accompanied by Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Cain Mathema, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

The summit kicks off today.

Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana), Edgar Lungu (Zambia) and Juao Lourenco (Angola)  are also expected to attend the summit.

Minister Mupfumira and her Permanent Secretary, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, are already here for this inaugural summit which has generated intense debate with most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Western media criticising countries in the region over alleged wanton poaching of wildlife.

The summit is expected to generate better understanding of elephant management and associated challenges from the view of Southern Africa, which is home to the world’s largest elephant population.

The leaders will discuss the impact of wildlife on humans, legal and illegal trade in elephant products with the aim of generating concrete interventions to address challenges posed.

Kasane lies in a riverine woodland at the meeting point of four countries that are part of the KAZA TFCA countries, namely Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The four countries have the largest elephant population  in Africa.

The summit will also be attended by ministers, KAZA, NGOs, conservation organisations, wildlife researchers, donors and philanthropists to raise awareness on the current state of elephants in Southern Africa.

The summit will also share ideas and explore ways of curbing, poaching of elephants and illegal trade of elephant products.

The African elephant has been a subject of discussion on international meetings such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The conditions for trade in elephants and their products has been a subject of acrimonious debate with stringent conditions being imposed on those whose populations are on CITES Appendix II.

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