The West African Savannah Foundation (FSOA) is an International Organization under British Law dedicated to the sustainable financing of preservation of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) transboundary ecosystem complex. Created in 2012 and operational since 2015, it supports the preservation of the National Parks of Benin with project funds from KfW, allowing its financial revenues to accumulate until 2022 before starting capital grants.
For the Pendjari National Park (PNP), the richest and best maintained of the WAP transboundary complex, which has been under a management delegation contract to APN since August 2017, an annual grant from the FSOA contributes in particular to the professionalization of anti-poaching and the maintenance of the trail network. Between 2018 and 2020, the funds granted amounted to €2.02 million.
The W-Benin National Park, twice the size of the PNP, has many challenges for its rehabilitation and development to become a real economic hub as the Government of Benin wishes. To this end, FSOA financed in 2019 a feasibility study (€151.25 K), an aerial inventory of big mammals (€117.89 K) and up to €3.11 M (85% of the overall cost) the Priority Intervention Plan (PIP). With the mastery of the NGO African Park Network, an innovative inclusive partnership and an exemplary commitment from all parties enabled significant progress in the rehabilitation of W-Benin after nine months of PIP implementation (Operational Communication Base, Training of Rangers, Aerial Survey). The PIP has given hope, with the support of CENAGREF, local authorities and communities, to achieve ecological restoration of the protected area, while generating increased cooperation for security, stability and prosperity, not only in the northern Benin but in the overall sub-region.
In order to ensure a good follow-up to the PIP, and to continue efforts to restore the ecosystems of W, the Government of Benin concluded, on 25th June 2020, a long-term agreement (10 years) with African Parks Network for the delegated management of the National Park W. Preventing a physical meeting due to the Corona Virus pandemic, the signing of the management agreement was held in a “virtual‟ meeting with the presence of the main partners, including the European Union, the German and French Cooperations, the World Bank… and of course, the FSOA.
This event was an opportunity for the Government of Benin to celebrate its commitment and foresight to protect its natural resources and biodiversity, which is more important than ever in these historical times. FSOA will support it in safeguarding the globally important W-Arly-Pendjari Complex, one of the largest undamaged wild ecosystems in West Africa.