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Norwegian government injects over K200 billion in South Luangwa

THE Norwegian government has injected over K200 billion to support the South Luangwa National Park which attracts, annually, more than 30, 000 tourists to Zambia’s premier wildlife tourism destination. Opulentus NorwayNorwegian Ambassador to Zambia Arve Ofstad said the contribution to boost the domestic tourism in the park has been made over a period of 27 years. “Since 1983, we have been working together with Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) authorities, local communities and tourism industry to attract more tourists to the park which has diverse fauna and over 100 animals’ species with 450 species of birds,” Mr Ofstad said. He said this during the handover of earth moving equipment and the South Luangwa Area Management Unit (SLAMU) project to Government last week in Mfuwe. The SLAMU project has helped to improve the park administration and management, curb illegal hunting of wild animals such as elephants and opened up new tourists’ roads in the park, among others. The project is a multi-million dollar programme that was established in the Luangwa Valley in 1986. It was initially launched as a pilot project in Lupande game management area with the aim of integrating local communities to strike a balance between conservation of wildlife resources and meeting human needs. The project has also seen five airfields being constructed at Kapamba, Luamfwa, Lundu, Chamboo and Kauluzi to facilitate tourism. Mr Ofstad Norway has invested in the park because of importance it attaches to the tourism sector considering that South Luangwa National Park is one of the largest national game parks in Africa offering tourists a unique experience of the real wild Africa. And Tourism and Arts deputy minister Keith Mukata said culture is the foundation of tourism which attracts tourists who enjoy sampling local wildlife and the way Zambians live. Mr Mukata said inadequate funding has been an impediment of the sector not only in Zambia but world over. He said South Luangwa National Park is rated as one of the premier hunting safaris in southern Africa, hence, the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders such as the community and other partners like Norway and the local traditional leaders. He urged the donor community both local and international to find solutions to the challenges being faced in managing national parks, at the same time urging Zambians to desist from the culture of begging. Source: http://www.daily-mail.co.zm/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=642:norwegian-government-injects-over-k200-billion-in-south-luangwa&Itemid=188

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