WINDHOEK, In an effort to promote economic development and solve complex conservation challenges facing world heritage sites, the African World Heritage Fund Patron and former President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a business leader's breakfast event in Namibian Capital, Windhoek on Thursday.

The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of the African Union and UNESCO, launched in 2006.

Webber Ndoro, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund, at a media briefing in Windhoek said that the aim of the event is to promote a holistic private sector engagement, raise a sense of ownership and accountability for heritage protection as well as transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa.

"To continue with its mandate, the fund needs to mobilize resources to assist in solving various challenges facing heritage sites. This can be achieved through strong partnerships with the private sector," Ndoro said.

Ndoro cited limited funds to enhance capacity building and manage the sites across the continent.

Namibia has two World Heritage sites: Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein.

According to Ester Moombolah-Goagoses, chairperson of the Namibia Heritage Council, the aim is therefore to further exploit the World Heritage status of the Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein for the benefit of local communities to address poverty alleviation and improve socio-economic status through tourism.

"It's envisaged that through cooperation with the private sector, the fund will have the capacity to continue supporting skills development in terms of human resources in the conservation management and tourism, and subsequently contribute to the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that target to protect the planet, end poverty and the African Union Agenda 2063," said Moombolah-Goagoses.

The business leader's breakfast event, to be jointly hosted with Pedro de Verona Rodrigues, former president of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Heritage Expert Christina Cameron from Canada and Phuthuma Nhleko, a prominent Businessman from South Africa, is expected to draw about 15 companies operating in Namibia and the SADC region.