A plan to privatize a string of national parks in sub-Saharan Africa has garnered support from former South African president Nelson Mandela, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department, among others. The plan grew out of a 1998 meeting between Mandela and Paul van Vlissingen, a Dutch tycoon and conservationist, at which Mandela expressed concern that many African nations didn’t have the financial resources to properly care for parks and wildlife. Soon thereafter, van Vlissingen founded the African Parks Management and Finance Company, a private firm that aims to assume management of neglected parks, many of which have been heavily damaged by poaching; van Vlissingen pledges that profits will be invested in local communities. The company has contracts to run parks in Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia, and is negotiating to take over management of parks in Kenya, Mozambique, and Uganda as well. But van Vlissingen’s efforts have attracted criticism from at least one African politician, Sakwiba Sikota of Zambia, who said they “border on theft and plunder” of the public’s natural resources.