At a ceremony in Germany last month, the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) launched a book dedicated to the establishment of trans-frontier conservation areas - so-called 'peace parks' - in the region. The event was attended by ambassadors from many countries in southern Africa as well as the secretary of state for Germany's Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development, and the G8-Representative of the Federal Chancellor for the New African Initiative.
Dr Uschi Eid, chairman of SAFRI, and DaimlerChrysler CEO Jurgen E. Schrempp, presented a copy of the book to the South African businessman, Dr Anton Rupert, who initiated the peace parks project. The book was written by the historian and journalist Dr Martin Pabst, whose work deals predominantly with social themes, particularly in southern Africa.
The chief aim of SAFRI is to draw the attention of German companies to the major business opportunities that exist in the countries of southern Africa.
Tourism, for example, offers enormous growth potential across many business sectors in the region. In a 1997 study commissioned by SAFRI, the World Travel & Tourism Council forecast that the tourist industry could generate as many as l.6m new jobs for the region by 2010.
Against this background, SAFRI attaches great importance to the peace parks project.
For a start, it encourages close co-operation between neighbouring countries, which in turn helps promote peace in the region. As such, SAFRI supports the work of the Peace Parks Foundation, of which DaimlerChrysler is also a founding member.
In the book's dedication, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, another patron of the peace parks, expresses the hope that as many Germans as possible will come to visit the parks: "The conservation projects...