The East Africa region is endowed with rich biodiversity and natural resources that transcend national boundaries. These include vast landscapes, iconic wildlife species, watersheds, arable lands, and minerals. Broadly defined as natural capital, these resources are an important source of economic revenue and critical to East Africa’s economic growth. The region’s nature-based tourism industry, which is almost entirely dependent on wildlife and protected areas, contributes 7.5-10 percent of GDP to the region and supports local communities depending on the natural capital for their livelihoods.
However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has hit East Africa’s tourism sector hard with a consequent reduction in revenue for protected and conserved areas, including vital support to local community livelihoods. The purpose of the Conserving Natural Capital and Enhancing Collaborative Management of Transboundary Resources in East Africa (CONNECT) is to strengthen the conservation and management of transboundary natural resources, including wildlife and landscapes in the region. The project seeks to strengthen East African Community’s institutional leadership and deliver on its regional mandate and commitments to conserve and manage shared environment and natural resources in East Africa. The project works to strengthen and support existing regional conservation initiatives through generating evidence-based information, innovative methodologies, tools, and best practice for the benefit of the EAC Partner States and their citizens.