Malawi government has said President Peter Mutharika will on Thursday not burn four-tonne stockpile of elephant ivory valued at around $7.5m as it was scheduled, saying there is a “ slight change” in the programme of the event .
Government spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Information Minister, said government will still go ahead to show committment to tackle the illegal trade in ivory.
He said the burning of ivory has been postponed “as a consequence of new information that has emerged. “
Nankhumwa said in a statement: “ Government has been advised that another 2.6 tonnes of ivory is still in the system as exhibits awaiting conclusion of cases which are pending in the courts.
“Once these cases are concluded, all 6.6 tonnes of the ivory will be destroyed all together at a time and date to be announced in future.”
The statement added: “While Government remains committed to fight wildlife crime, including protection of iconic species of elephants and rhinos, which are key for tourism promotion in Malawi, it is important that the entire stockpile of ivory is destroyed once and for all”.
Destroying ivory, while symbolically important, is not a solution to poaching because it is does not deal with the problem associated with common pool resources, according to Mwangi Kimenyi a Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution and advisory board member of the School of Economics, University of Nairobi.
He argues more effective policies must focus on interjecting more market-based approaches that provide communities ownership rights to the wildlife, perhaps the most compelling reason for them to vigorously support anti-poaching activities.