African nations try to bring in eco-tourists
African nations are hoping to boost their economies by attracting the ecologically curious, following the example of nations like Costa Rica, which thrives on ecotourism. The island nation of Madagascar has boosted protection of forests and wetlands and boasts biodiversity rivaled only by the rainforests of Brazil. Other countries rebranding are Rwanda, famed for gorillas, and Equatorial Guinea, which would rather be known for biodiversity than oil, coups, and corruption. It signed a preliminary agreement in April with Conservation International to protect over a million acres of rainforest — bringing the total protected area in the country to 37 percent of its territory, the highest of any African nation. Besides the obvious job-creating benefit of ecotourism, the head of Conservation International’s Central Africa program says, “There is a sense that a country that takes care of its environment is a good country to invest in.” Is the environment vs. economy myth dead yet?