Jan 25, 2023 - World

Yellen on poaching in Africa: Follow the money

Janet Yellen looks into the camera in Africa with a chicken in the background

Secretary Yellen prepares to speak to viliagers in Chongwe, Zambia on Jan. 24, 2023. Photo: Hans Nichols/Axios

GAUTENG, South Africa — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced a new joint U.S. – South African task force on wildlife trafficking to "follow the money" from poaching and then work to seize proceeds from any illegal sales.

Why it matters: Yellen used the announcement to emphasize the central theme of her 10-day trip: working closely with American institutions is the best way for African countries to grow their economies and improve living standards.

  • The illegal killing of rare African species threatens the species' existence and disrupts their ecosystems.
  • Protecting the local wildlife is a priority for African governments, their tourism industry and international conservationists.

Driving the news: On a wildlife tour on the Dinokeng Game Reserve, a 21,000 hectare park, Yellen saw some of the animals — like the white rhinoceros — the new task force is designed to protect.

  • “To help save wildlife populations from further poaching and disrupt the associated illicit trade, we must follow the money in the same way we do with other serious crimes,” she said.
  • “Seeing so many different animal species in their natural setting reminds us why it is so important to work together to protect wildlife,” she said.

The big picture: Yellen’s tour of the wildlife preserve, where she also saw a male and female lion lying in the shade, marked the start of her visit to South Africa, the final stop on her 10-day tour.

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