Press Release

AWF and Embassy of Rwanda in Washington Host APAC Preview Event

General Inquiries

Tel:+254 711 063 000

Ngong Road, Karen, P.O. Box 310
00502 Nairobi, Kenya

Photo of African amabassadors to the United States at APAC event in Washington

H.E. Santa Mary Kinyera, Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission of Uganda to the U.S.; H.E. Lazarus Amayo, Ambassador of Kenya to the U.S.; H.E. Professor Mathilde Mukantabana, Ambassador of Rwanda to the U.S; H.E. Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Ambassador of Botswana to the U.S. at the African Protected Areas Congress preview event in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C./ NAIROBI, KENYA/ KIGALI, RWANDA (April 6, 2022) — African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda co-hosted a special preview event and reception last night for the upcoming IUCN African Protected Areas Congress (APAC). Presentations on April 5, 2022 were attended by more than 100 U.S. lawmakers, officials from State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, World Bank, APAC sponsors, and 14 embassies of African countries, to examine what is at stake at the upcoming IUCN African Protected Areas Congress scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on July 18-23, 2022.

Presenters at the AWF-Rwandan Government event included: H.E. Professor Mathilde Mukantabana, Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States; Hilda Suka-Mafudze, African Union Ambassador to the United States of America; AWF Country Director, Rwanda Belise Kariza; and AWF Global Leadership Director Edwin Tambara, who shared information about the goals of the first-ever IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress and showcased the Conservation and Development Masterplan for Rwanda’s Volcanoes landscape and expansion of Volcanoes National Park, as an example of the successful community conservation programs to be considered and expanded in numerous African countries by APAC this summer.

H.E. Professor Mathilde Mukantabana said: “The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda is honored co-host this important African Protected Areas Congress preview event in Washington, D.C. with our trusted partners at African Wildlife Foundation. Detailed presentations on APAC this evening conveyed the goals of APAC policy makers, agencies, and NGOs, including the objectives of the inaugural Congress, set to take place in Kigali on 18-23 July, but also helped to inform the successful ongoing conservation work and expansion efforts in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.”

AWF Country Director, Rwanda Belise Kariza, said: “As the centerpiece of my visit to Washington, D.C., this is such an important event. Many US officials in the audience have heard about the APAC Congress coming up in July in Kigali. They want to find out more, and some want to attend in-person. As part of our joint presentation with the Embassy of Rwanda, I talked about Rwanda’s conservation and Development Master Plan with a special focus on the expansion of the Volcanoes National Park as an example of how we protect wildlife and wild lands the right way in African countries – how we create a road map for sustainable development and new economic growth through enterprise approaches that respect and restore nature and convey skills and innovation in people. Rwanda’s efforts with AWF in Volcanoes National Park in protected areas where mountain gorillas have experienced a significant rebound is helping to inform an investment blueprint for the next generation of enterprises in the landscape - across a diversity of sectors…forestry, agriculture, creative, tourism and technology.” 

AWF Senior Director, Global Leadership Edwin Tambara said: “This evening, we came together with the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda at a critical juncture to shine a light on African conservation priorities, and to engage U.S. lawmakers on the ambitious agenda of the African Protected Areas Congress , where African governments, African Protected Area Directors, NGOs, business leaders, and conservation experts will respond together to what many are calling the ‘triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.’”

In the spotlight, AWF experts discussed the new sustainable financing mechanism proposal for all of Africa’s protected and conserved areas including state, private, and community areas in terrestrial and marine environments of North, South, East and West Africa. At APAC in July, African Protected Area Directors from all 54 African countries will deliberate A Pan-African Conservation Trust (A-PACT), a conservation trust fund with sufficient endowment (US$ 95-225 billion) to pay out US$ 2.63-6.7 billion annually.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

About Africa Protected Areas Congress

The IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) is the first ever continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions. APAC is scheduled to take pace in Kigali Rwanda from 7-12 March 2022. Registration for the Congress is ongoing. For additional information visit the APAC website at:

MEDIA CONTACTS: For US media inquiries, please contact Patrick Mitchell at For APAC inquiries, please contact Valentine Njoroge at or Eileen Kairu at To inquire about APAC Sponsorships, please contact Beulah Erhiawarien at: