This Issue Brief aims at unpacking the potential benefits and risks of innovative financial mechanisms at work in Africa. It uncovers both essential financial and institutional innovations at play and shows that, when smartly combining public and private involvement, innovative financing may contribute to better funded and efficient management in and around protected areas, at a significant scale.


  • Innovation in protected area finance and management in Africa relies on combining public and private involvement: private funding is a complement, rather than a substitute, to public financial support; coordination of private and public action benefits from a contractual approach that favours conditionality; this contractual approach however needs to be secured at the regulatory level.
  • To foster such a combination, creating ad hoc bodies, mixed public/private, can prove essential to the security of funding and management, and political support from national and local ‘’champions’’ proves critical. Building local capacity as well as long-term relationships between development partners, government, NGOs and private investors is thus a priority.
  • Yet, contractual approaches remain complex. Numerous stakeholders and conditional agreements generate significant transactions costs. Designing contractual governance is costly, and monitoring compliance and results is lengthy. Furthermore, due to financial market unpredictability, private funding might not be such a secure option to complement the fragile support from donors and national public funding. Hence the report calls for combining public and private involvement in protected area finance and management.

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