Republic of Congo

Assessment of potential development and investment opportunities in the Republic of Congo's (ROC) ecotourism sector

  • Client: United States Agency for International Development
  • Partners: TetraTech
  • Project Duration: November 2021 - September 2022


The vision behind USAID’s investment in the ecotourism sector through USAID’s Conservation Through Economic Empowerment in the Republic of the Congo (CEERC) program is to promote the Republic of Congo’s (RoC) competitiveness as an international ecotourism destination while preserving its unique environment and incentivizing the tourism industry and local communities to support conservation outcomes. The purpose of this activity is to expand and improve RoC’s tourism offerings using an inclusive and sustainable approach. The aim is to facilitate private investment by working with government to establish incentives and obligations that are more private sector-friendly, promote steady and sustainable tourism growth, and safeguard the environment and social characteristics of local communities.

The program is expected to learn from and adapt to changing circumstances throughout implementation, including market forces, which can result in shifts in selected niches or products when warranted. It will be important to consider both private sector investment on private land and also how to create favorable conditions for private sector investment in and management of public assets such as protected areas.

The activity has three Intermediate Results (IRs):
• IR 1: Sustainable and scalable enterprises/industries and business models that support conservation and reduce deforestation established
• IR 2: Enabling environment for conservation-friendly enterprises improved
• IR 3: Targeted communities establish and benefit from conservation-friendly enterprises and industries

Major Activities

Solimar will analyze the potential development and investment opportunities in ROC’s tourism sector and facilitate linkages with global business/investor networks in support of IR 1: Sustainable and scalable enterprises/industries and business models that support conservation and reduce deforestation. Solimar will mobilize experts to develop possibilities for ecotourism in line with the National Tourism Strategy and complementing other tourism development efforts. Solimar’s networks will also provide CEERC access to global buyers and partners for ecotourism-focused value chains, such as private tour operators, technology platforms, impact investors, and major global tourism companies.

The assessment will be focused at the landscape level, specifically in the target areas to be identified in CEERC’s Year 1 geographic prioritization process. Using a participatory approach, Solimar will engage the private sector, national government, and local communities through key informant interviews and site visits to identify:

  • Ecotourism potential in CEERC’s target landscapes and the investments needed to realize that potential
  • Policy and regulatory improvements needed to improve the enabling environment for ecotourism
  • Linkages with local, regional, and global business/investor networks to support ecotourism initiatives
  • Priority actions for CEERC and partners to strengthen conservation-friendly ecotourism in ROC

The Ecotourism Assessment and Action Plan will inform the design of CEERC’s interventions and ensure that the proposed support at the landscape level is aligned with the national tourism strategy and complementary to ongoing tourism development efforts in ROC by other donors (such as the World Bank).

Anticipated Results

  • Inception report detailing findings from the desk analysis along with a proposed assessment itinerary and table of contents for the Ecotourism Assessment and Action Plan. This will include a list of proposed stakeholder interviews, schedule of field visits, and the proposed members of the Solimar assessment team. Draft participant surveys, key informant questions and other data collection tools will also be included.
  • Draft ecotourism assessment and action plan
  • Final ecotourism assessment and action plan

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