The Environmental Importance of Okavango Delta and its Potential in Hydrocarbons

Figure 1. Okavango River, Miguel Gomes (2021).

Okavango Delta is one of the largest wetlands on the planet, a huge patch made up of channels, ponds and seasonal ponds (illustrated in Figure 1. and Figure 2.) that feed life in an arid region (Quammen D. 2021). The delta extends towards the center and northeast of Angola occupying a total area of ​about 520,000 km2 in the following provinces: Cuando Cubango, Moxico and Lunda-Sul (Miguel Gomes, 2021).

According to the Cuito Cuanavale University, Okavango has a large tourism potential and this could make Cuando Cubango the capital of ecotourism in Angola. Although, Angola is the least developed country in terms of tourism, comparing to the other border countries of Okavango such as: Zambia, Namibia and Botswana (Jornal de Angola, 2017).

Figure 2. Okavango delta, fauna e flora (2021).

The Presidential Decree of 27 October 2020, approves the strategy for the exploitation of hydrocarbons in protected areas in Angola 2020-2025 (Angop, 2021). The EcoAngola association and the Kissama Foundation have been outraged by this decision by the Angolan government (Miguel Gomes, 2021). The two organizations have written a letter to the ministries involved with the purpose of encouraging the Angolan government to work with civil society on changes in laws that allow or not the exploitation of mineral and petroleum resources in environmental conservation regions; also to take account of the risks, mitigation measures, benefits, and consequences in the short, medium and long term, at the local, regional and global level (Miguel Gomes, 2021).

In 2010, a study was started in the Kassange and Okavango Basins, a study by the national oil and gas agency (ANPG), with an aerogravimetric survey, whichallowed the definition of its limits and the depth of sediments, an important factor to measure the possibility of generating hydrocarbons (crude oil and natural gas). An area of ​​520,000 km2 is composed of sedimentary rocks and has great potential to extract crude oil and natural gas. From the total existing area, only about 20% is located in protected areas.

ANGP intends to collect samples of rocks, oil and gas and carry out advanced studies in laboratories, since it is important to know the resources of our country. The agency adds that the work will be carried out in coordination with the ministerial department responsible for the environment, which should approve the environmental impact study and coordinate the public consultation as soon as they are allowed.

Countries in the region, such as Zambia, Namibia and Botswana, have already gone through the same process, having subsequently, with complete safety and respect for the environment, carried out the respective bidding processes (Angop, 2021).

After the case-related ministries heard from environmental associations, it was concluded that there will be an environmental per-feasibility study, to be carried out by an independent entity in coordination with the ministerial department responsible for the environment, in order to bid or not the exploration in the protected areas of these basins that make up less than 20% of its total (Novo Jornal, 2021).


Angop (2021);

EcoAngola (2021);

Novo jornal (2021);

David Quammen (2021); National Geographic;

Okavango Delta (2021)

Miguel Gomes (2021); Jornal de angola;

Jornal de Angola (2017);

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