Africa Program 2015

Total Number of Grants Awarded 34
Total Funds Distributed Through Grants $16,186,786
Total Partner Contributions Leveraged by Grants $17,381,316
Total Number of Countries that Received Program Support 7

The Congo and OgoouĂ© Basins in Central Africa make up the world’s second-largest expanse of tropical forest cover. These forests provide habitat to an incredibly diverse array of wildlife and plants and represent a vital source of food, clean water and other benefits to approximately 80 million people. Unfortunately, Central Africa’s forests and wildlife face a number of serious threats, including:

  • Overhunting to supply the commercial bushmeat trade;
  • Elephant poaching for ivory;
  • Destruction of habitat by poorly managed extractive industries, such as logging and mining;
  • Disease in great apes;
  • Capture of marine turtles and their eggs; and
  • Taking live animals from the wild for the pet trade.
Mountain gorilla with offspring. Credit: Dirck Byler / USFWS

Mountain gorilla with offspring. Credit: Dirck Byler / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been involved in Central Africa since 1989, when the U.S. Congress passed the African Elephant Conservation Act, and later the Great Ape Conservation Act and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act. Since then, USFWS has provided ongoing technical and financial assistance to save some of the world’s most iconic wildlife: forest elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, marine turtles and a host of other awe-inspiring species that have inhabited Central Africa for hundreds of thousands of years.

In Central Africa, USFWS aims to achieve conservation goals by:

  • Targeting key threats to wildlife and their habitats;
  • Strengthening capacity and forging partnerships to implement on-the-ground conservation activities; and
  • Building a better evidence base for conservation.

For nearly 30 years, USFWS has worked closely with foreign governments, multi-donor agencies, other U.S. government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society. Building on these years of experience, USFWS has established a strategic, results-based vision for wildlife conservation in Central Africa, emphasizing direct action in the field and the strengthening of individual and institutional capacity.

In order to maximize conservation success, USFWS has provided guidance for grantees to better monitor, assess and report on performance and learn what works and what doesn't from projects implementing similar actions. This more systematic approach is designed to increase accountability and improve long-term results.

Our Investments through the Africa Regional Program: USFWS has been a major partner of the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) since 2006. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) serves as lead agency for CARPE. Over the last decade, USFWS has played an increasingly important role in CARPE, with a $35 million apportionment to USFWS in 2015 and 2016. USFWS has developed a network of key projects that target the region’s wildlife priorities and are funded through CARPE, building on 25 years of USFWS presence in Central Africa through the Congressionally mandated species funds for African elephants, great apes and marine turtles.

USFWS employs a two-pronged strategy to combat the serious threats facing Central African wildlife:

  1. Small, competitive grants for on-the-ground projects that respond to immediate threats; and
  2. Long-term cooperative agreements that focus on strengthening in-country capacity to effectively manage wildlife populations and their habitats.

This combined approach allows USFWS to provide rapid responses to emerging threats while ensuring ongoing financial and technical support to achieve long-term results. In this way, USFWS plays an active role in shaping Central Africa’s conservation programs over time.

 Virunga rangers photo. Credit: Virunga National Park

Virunga rangers. Credit: Virunga National Park

Where We Work: USFWS works across the Congo Basin and supports conservation, including in the following countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Republic of the Congo.