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Biodiversity Economy

The Biodiversity
Economy of South Africa...

encompasses businesses and economic activities that either directly depend on biodiversity for their core business or that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity through their activities. The Biodiversity Economy contains the formal commercial biodiversity markets of South Africa with a focus on indigenous species.

Pillars of the Biodiversity Economy


Centred on game and wildlife farming with ranching activities that relate to the stocking, trading, breeding, and hunting of game, and all the services and goods required to support this value chain.


Is defined as environmentally and socially responsible travel to natural or near natural areas that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local people.


Encompasses organisations and people that are searching for, collecting, harvesting, and extracting living or dead indigenous species.

The National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) provides guidance for sustainable growth for the pillars of biodiversity, ecotourism, bioprospecting and wildlife, investment opportunities in conservation areas and ecological infrastructure.

The vision of the NBES is to optimise the total economic benefits of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries through their sustainable use, in line with the vision of the DFFE. The purpose of the NBES is to provide 14 years of national coordination, leadership and guidance for the development and growth of the biodiversity economy.

The NBES industry growth goal by 2030, is for the South African Biodiversity Economy to achieve an average annualised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 10% per annum. This envisioned growth curve extends into the year 2030 and is aligned with the efforts of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030.

This growth requires cooperation and collaboration between the private sector, government, and communities via the realisation of opportunities in various market segments by addressing development and growth constraints; and by managing both the wildlife and bioprospecting industries in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The Biodiversity Economy Strategy is linked to an implementation programme channelled through a dedicated Operation Phakisa, a fast-results-delivery programme to help the government implement the National Development Plan (NDP) with the goal of boosting economic growth and creating jobs.

The Biodiversity Economy supports South Africa’s economic transformation.

Transformation Targets

  • Fair and equitable beneficiation
  • Regulation
  1. Increase in ownership of black-owned businesses in biodiversity economy and related value change
  2. Support community programmes involved in stewardship and protected area

Transformation Highlights

  • + R500 million of private investment unlocked wildlife
  • R150 million bioprospecting (blended financing model)
  • + 1000 jobs created
  • + 1000 SMMEs trained
  • R66.6 million government investment, an additional R 1.7 billion on infrastructural support for game farms, protected areas, and bioprospecting projects
  • Approved National Game donation/custodianship policy for implementation
  • 1900 head of game donated/loaned, an additional 500 herds of game donated in 2019
  • 18.5 million hectares of land with potential for wildlife economy mapped
  • Creating economically viable wildlife business venture owned and managed by PDIs on 10 million hectares