Standard Bank took on the crucial roles of Sustainability Structuring Agent and Sole Lender, extending tailored financial support to enable Wilderness (formerly known as Wilderness Safaris) to expand into new markets, with the ultimate goal of conserving larger tracts of land. Wilderness is an Africa-based conservation and hospitality company with a mission to protect, explore and expand the world’s wilderness.
Wilderness is an Africa-based conservation and hospitality company, wholly dedicated to the protection, exploration, and expansion of the world’s wild and untouched areas through its innovative approach to ecotourism. At the heart of Wilderness’s mission are three pillars: educating local communities through school curriculums and infrastructure development, empowering these communities and small businesses with sustainable employment opportunities within the tourism sector, all with a shared purpose of promoting harmonious coexistence between humanity and the wild, reinforced by robust wildlife security programs.
Keith Vincent, CEO of Wilderness, acknowledges that the nature conservation financing provided by Standard Bank resonates with the organization’s ethos and strategy, which is centered around ensuring that, through sustainable conservation tourism, there will always be unbounded, untamed, and unpredictable wild places for the world to cherish.
Operating in eight countries, with more than 60 exceptional camps and lodges, Wilderness helps protect some 2.3 million hectares (6 million acres) of exclusive wilderness. Its goal – to double that by 2030. Wilderness has been creating impactful journeys for four decades, with its beginnings in Botswana in 1983.
Vincent emphasizes, “Our shared African vision and commitment to contributing to a sustainable continent (and ultimately the planet) made Standard Bank the perfect partner for us. At Wilderness, our mission is to double the amount of land we help conserve in the next decade. We believe that with the support of our guests, partners, and the larger community, this vision is entirely attainable, and it’s one we will tirelessly pursue.”
Brydone Graham, Head of Corporate Financing Solutions at Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division, underscores the unique opportunity that Wilderness presents to Standard Bank in terms of supporting a vital partner in the conservation of the African continent, emphasizing sustainable and inclusive growth.
Graham highlights the critical importance of Africa’s irreplaceable biodiversity and the responsibility to preserve it sustainably and inclusively, not only for the well-being of local communities but for the entire continent’s prosperous future.
In conclusion, Graham underscores the ability of Standard Bank, with its expansive and distinctive presence across Africa, to provide efficient long-term and flexible funding. This capacity proved vital when Wilderness approached them for support in realizing their conservation ambitions, in perfect harmony with their vision to promote the sustainable use of the environment and foster economic integration within Africa.