Call to Conserve the Environment for Future Generations
31 May 2000
Namibia strikes oil
Namibia has oil and gas deposits enough to meet its needs for the next 1,000 years,
according to the Namibian Scientific Society (NSS) congress held recently.
Roger Swart, a Namcor technical manager, said the country possesses over 15 trillion
cubic metres of gas, the energy equivalent of 3.5 billion barrels of oil. “That is a resource
that can no longer be ignored,” he said.
According to Swart, studies of reservoir rocks and hydrocarbon resources have proven oil
exists in Namibia which are bigger than oil deposits recently discovered in neighbouring
On the reserves of the Kudu fields gas project alone, Swart said it was estimated that its
reserves were more than enough to sustain 20 years of operation.
The project is due to take off in 2004-2005 after construction of a harbour, platform and
pipelines, he said. (PANA)
US$65m World Bank credit for Zambia
The World Bank has approved a credit of US$64.7 million for Zambia, a recent donor
The credit is to support the social investment fund, a 10-year programme that will help
the government decentralise and empower local authorities to improve governance and
efficiency in service delivery and to increase people’s access to basic social services.
The bank explained that the goals of the project would be achieved through three
components: community development fund, district investment fund and poverty monitoring
The community investment fund is expected to finance projects in education, health, rural
water supply and sanitation, natural resources management, capacity-building, basic skills,
training and other social programmes targeting poor and vulnerable groups.
Through the district fund, large infrastructure projects benefiting more than one
community, such as district health facilities and marketplaces, will be financed.
The credit will also strengthen the capacity of government to collect data, analyse and
assess the impact of poverty reduction programmes and government’s policies on poverty.
The project is to be financed through the International Development Association, the arm
of the World Bank that lends to poor countries on easy terms.
The credit will mature in 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. (AIM)
Concern about women’s future
Ministers responsible for gender and women’s affairs in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) have expressed concern about the future of women in Africa.
Worried by the effects of rapid global developments in the fields of communication and
technology, social marginalisation and the feminisation of poverty, the ministers see an
urgent need to address the gender gap.
Meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius, the ministers called for urgent action to devise policies
that will address access to services, resources and education.
“We are concerned with emerging issues like social marginalization, the impact of poverty
on women and the low level of women participation in decision- and policy-making,” said
Indira Sidaya, the Mauritian minister of women’s affairs.
According to Sidaya, issues of concern also include the tragic effects of conflicts and
political crises on women and children and the lack of access to technology and productive
Swaziland embarks on sustainable environmental use
Swaziland has taken a step toward sustainable use of its environment and reconciling the
rivalry between the nation’s game park system and industry with an innovative land swap
The country’s largest game park, Hlane Royal National Park, has agreed to trade land with
its neighbour, the large sugar cane estate, Mhlume Sugar Company. The park and the local
community will be the principal beneficiaries.
The game park will give 4,500 acres, considered marginal to its operations, to the
community. The land is suitable for cane cultivation. The deal will increase Hlane’s size
by a net 2,000 hectares. The portion of Hlane’s acreage, that will soon become cane fields
is detached from the park’s other land, says nature conservationist Ted Reilly, director of
the Big Game Parks of Swaziland that runs the facility.
What makes the land swap so extraordinary is that for decades Hlane and the Mhlume Company
have been bitter antagonists. The sugar industry and the park were both established in the
1960s, at a time when the demands of commerce and business always superseded the needs of
The deal will also create badly-needed job opportunities in the poverty-stricken area,
where the only employment is on the sugar estates. Hlane itself will hire more nature
conservationists to supervise its expanded area, and more rangers to protect the game. (IPS)