A very controversial situation amongst wildlife conservation folks working in South Sudan right now.
Short story: through an unusual and very unclear process, an organization apparently linked to the UAE royal family, has acquired unfettered access to a large swath of land in Southern Sudan for “wildlife enjoyment purposes” (this is our description). The organization is pouring resources into the area, presumably for infrastructure improvements linked to the project, but the public is not quite sure.
No doubt over time this will garner more publicity in the wildlife industry and more questions will certainly emerge. Unanswered questions on projects are always a problem in this area; murky situations always draw speculation and bad press that is neither helpful nor productive toward the larger goal of improving the local wildlife industries’ viability.
Since there are too few answers and we only wish success for an enterprise wanting to accomplish something of this size and scale, we’ll only state this: businesses can learn from their possibly precarious situation. Marketing, CSR and public information campaigns cannot be overlooked when undertaking projects in Southern Sudan.
Any business wanting to enter this market should be sure to include these elements in your business planning. DR&A can certainly help if you have questions. It’s worth even a smattering of planning, time and energy to prevent a reputation hit like this from The Economist.