LOCAL communities around Mount Kilimanjaro earn over 20bn/- from Africa's highest peak, which goes directly into their pockets. A recent study by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which is Britain's leading Independent ''Think tank,'' and whose results were presented in Arusha over the weekend, has indicated that local residents earn 28 per cent of the total revenue from foreign visitors. Funded by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), the ODI study concluded that it was the world's highest and most successful transfer of resources from international tourists to poor people in the locality. ''This is the most successful transfer of resources from international tourists ever seen in Africa or Asia,'' said Mr Elibariki Heriel-Mtui the SNV Adviser in Private Sector Development, when tabling the report before local tour operators in Arusha. It is Mount Kilimanjaro only in Tanzania which channels the largest share of its earnings (28 per cent) straight into local residents' pockets. The study titled ''Making success work for the poor: Package tourism in Northern Tanzania'' was conducted around Mt Kilimanjaro in Moshi and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority in Arusha, by Jonathan Mitchell, Jodie Keane and Jenny Laidlaw. Mount Kilimanjaro which is Africa's highest peak attracts more than 35,000 annual climbers and the earnings from the total in-country tourists expenditure is about 50 million dollars (80bn/-) per year. According to the SNV-ODI study, the generated money is also a significant economic input in a rural context. The study found that the tourism earnings from Mt Kilimanjaro which is equivalent to over 13 million dollars or 20.8bn/- is considered pro-poor expenditure. The basis for this estimate of pro-poor expenditure, according to the ODI includes all the wages and tips received by climbing staff. Also, 90 per cent of food consumed on Mount Kilimanjaro is sourced from the local market in Moshi and the suppliers to this market are overwhelmingly local small-holder farmers. The study indicates that 50 per cent of expenditure on cultural goods and services was pro-poor as craft shop, retail outlets and curio stalls suggest that poor producers receive approximately 50 per cent of the retail price. Around 16 per cent of all accommodation costs were found to be paid in non-managerial wages and are therefore also considered pro-poor. ''We estimate that 5 per cent of national park fees expenditure is pro-poor because although TANAPA staff is well-paid, the authority employs local casual labour for cleaning operations and significant funds are also distributed,'' said Mr Mtui. Kilimanjaro National Park fees include a 60 dollars daily entrance fee, 40 dollars daily camping fee and a 20 dollars rescue fee. More than 400 guides, 10,000 porters and 500 cooks get permanent employment in the climbing expeditions and these benefit from 60 per cent of the earnings. There are also 28,000 people who benefit indirectly from handicraft business and sales of other tourist targeting artifacts not to mention thousands of local farmers, peasants and traders who supply food and services to visitors. The total pro-poor impact of Kilimanjaro (13 million dollars) is however a drop in the sea when reflected in the total tourism earnings from the annual number of tourists (about 700,000) who visit the Northern Tanzania Circuit and who reportedly spend a total of 103 million dollars (165bn/-) per year, touring mostly Mt Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro Crater itself attracts close to 400,000 visitors per year, more than ten-times the number of tourists visiting Kilimanjaro. Other northern zone attractions contribute just 18 per cent to the local communities surrounding them. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority contributes US$ 1.2 million every year to the local pastoral pastoral community. ''The implications are that, if the aim is to use tourism to help lift people out of poverty at scale, then mainstream tourism should be the primary target for pro-poor interventions,'' the SNV official said.