East Africa is globally recognized for its rich biodiversity and iconic landscapes.  Managed well, these resources spur economic growth and improve livelihoods.  However, factors like climate change, wildlife crime, habitat fragmentation, human wildlife conflicts, and urban expansion are threatening conservation efforts.  

Combating wildlife crime

Poaching and wildlife trafficking in East Africa have reached critical levels.  In response, USAID supports the East African Community to develop regional strategies, and adopt strong policies to enhance transboundary wildlife management, combat wildlife trafficking, and enforce wildlife crimes.  With USAID support, new tools and technologies are now used to combat wildlife crime, such as the Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange database, which helps law enforcement officers in the region share information. Since the majority of illegal wildlife goods are trafficked by sea, USAID is working with the United Nations Development Program to curb maritime wildlife trafficking.  

Biodiversity conservation

Wildlife is a critical asset for East Africa’s future growth and development.  The total direct contribution to GDP of nature-based tourism to Kenya and Tanzania is over USD $1.2 billion.  Our partnerships strengthen the conservation and management of transboundary natural resources including wildlife and landscapes in the region. These natural resources are of critical importance for sustaining wildlife and human populations.  USAID also partners with the EAC in assessing the value of natural capital, wildlife, and habitats across four key trans-boundary landscapes. 


Recognizing the value of public conversations on environment issues with youth, private sector actors and in mainstream media, USAID supports multiple communication projects that amplify messages of conservation and locally-led nature solutions in East Africa.  USAID supported two seasons of WildlifeDirect’s nature conservation program Wildlife Warriors(link is external). USAID also has a new partnership with WildlifeDirect, the U.S. State Department, and The Walt Disney Company to create National Geographic Kids Africa (NGKA) - an environmental TV show for children ages 6-13.  In addition, USAID is investing in the training and mentorship of journalists who focus on investigative reporting of wildlife management and crime through our partnership with Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.(link is external) USAID also partners with the U.S. Forest Service to conduct biodiversity assessments 

Climate Action

East Africa is affected by a lot of climatic shocks and stressors, including droughts, floods, heatwaves, pests, and diseases.  USAID has partnered with regional, national, and sub-national organizations to assess climate vulnerabilities and strengthen regional policies and strategies.  USAID has designed state of the art tools and technologies to create climate-smart solutions to underpin the resilience of trans-boundary communities and their environs.  USAID supported the Kenya Meteorological Department in installing automatic weather stations countrywide to improve weather forecasting accuracy and supported climate modeling training to bolster the capacity of regional bodies to create early warning systems to prepare for and endure the increasing frequency of extreme climate events. As a result of these programs, better climate predictions have enabled East African countries and the greater horn of Africa to enhance their preparedness. COP27 will be held in Egypt this year, providing a good opportunity for Kenya to discuss issues in the region.


Overview: Regional Environment

Activity Fact Sheets

Combatting Wildlife Crime

Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources in East Africa

Improving Collaborative Conservation and Management of Transboundary Natural Resources 

Increasing East African Media Coverage of Conservation and Wildlife Issues

Inter-agency Agreement to Support Wildlife Conservation and Combat Wildlife Crime

Reducing Maritime Trafficking of Wildlife Between Africa and Asia

National Geographic’s Team Sayari


One Step Ahead(link is external)

Rats to the rescue(link is external)


You can access our past newsletters here.

Rangers in the Masai Mara demonstrate the WILD mobile app.
The WILD mobile app allows rangers in 10 conservancies in Kenya and Tanzania to collect and share data on wildlife sightings, poaching, human wildlife conflict and other activities.
Nadine Sunderland/USAID