Communities bordering the Park will be the main beneficiaries of an agreement signed in the Kruger National Park (KNP), specifically relating to job and business opportunities in the tourism and agriculture sectors.
KNP's Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of the KNP with representatives from the Community Public Private Partnership Programme (CPPPP) and the Tourism Enterprise Programme (TEP) on Wednesday February 16, 2005.
This Memorandum of Understanding between the CPPPP (a Department of Trade and Industry project), KNP and TEP (Tourism Enterprise Programme), a partner of the Business Trust, aims to encourage economic growth in the area around the Park.
It also defines the roles of each of the three organizations in meeting this objective. "It must be recognised that the KNP is not a development organisation but rather facilitates local economic development without taking sole responsibility for promoting it," Dr Mkhize said.
The Park runs a number of empowerment programmes that are aimed at increasing general economic development of members of the local communities living outside the boundaries of the Park. These initiatives include a curio selling project, a contractor development programme and various other ad hoc opportunities for entrepreneurs from the communities surrounding the Park. "I believe that this beautifully simple agreement casts in stone the important task of the three organisations in the vitally important objective of reaching the goal of empowering the members of our local communities.
This is surely an admirable aim," Dr Mkhize commented There are six community forums around the outskirts of the KNP. Each forum represents a community with the aim of addressing points of concern between that community and the KNP.