Welcome to the Twenty-First Edition of our Africa Weekly Digest - A round-up of the news, stories, and publications that captured our hearts and minds this past week. This digest is “Made in Africa and Globally Curious”. We are interested in your feedback. Please take this quick survey and send us your candid feedback to help us shape future digests.
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1. World's Only Known White Giraffe Fitted With A Tracker To Deter Poachers In Kenya. The tracking device will give hourly updates on the giraffe's whereabouts, enabling rangers to "keep the unique animal safe from poachers.’’ The giraffe has a rare genetic condition called leucism, which causes the loss of skin pigmentation. He is thought to be the last of his kind after poachers killed two of his family members in March. (BBC)
Photo: Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy
2. ‘Wildlife Conservation 20’ Demand G20 to Invest in Nature or Face Biodiversity Collapse. A new initiative involving 20 of the world’s leading conservation organizations have issued an unprecedented joint declaration to the G20 - calling for urgent action to scale up financial and technical support for conserving protected areas through adopting a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to help create an effective deterrent to wildlife crime. Read the declaration here: Spaceforgiants.org
3. Scientists Release A Global Map of Bees- Africa Among The Hotspots. Although many crops, especially in developing countries, rely on native bee species, the vast majority, more than 96% of bee species are poorly documented. To create the latest map, the researchers compared data about the occurrence of individual bee species with a checklist of over 20,000 species. The study has confirmed that unlike other creatures, such as birds and mammals, more bee species are found in dry, temperate areas away from the poles than in tropical environments nearer the equator, with hotspots in parts of the US, Africa, and the Middle East. (BBC).
4. Villages in Madagascar are Farming Edible Bug Bites. To adapt to the unprecedented food insecurity challenges, villages in Madagascar are farming edible bug bites with each community managing to raise more than 90,000 harvest-size Sakondry this year, adding about 450,000 kilocalories and 35,000 grams of protein to their diets. This is enough to both replace the meat and exceed the nutritional value of hunted lemurs. (Mongabay). On a sad note, migratory locusts are wreaking havoc in several SADC countries that include Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Angola, stoking fears of famine in a region in which nearly 44,5 million people are already food insecure.
Sakondry, ready to eat. Image by Brian Fisher.
5. Killer Whales Blamed For White Sharks Leaving Cape Town. A South African government-appointed panel found that attacks by killer whales are likely responsible for the disappearance of the great whites. False Bay, which lies off the city's east coast, has long been famed for the presence of the two-ton sharks that can measure as long as five meters. While sightings by shark spotters positioned near beaches averaged 205 from 2010 to 2016, there has now only been one confirmed sighting in more than two years. Bloomberg.com
6. Masai Mara Rescue Fund to Deliver Lifeline for Conservancies: A rescue fund has been established to provide a lifeline to wildlife conservancies in the greater Maasai Mara that are reeling from massive financial losses caused by a slump in tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fallout in tourism due to the pandemic means communities are struggling to survive. These lease payments will help ensure the lands that make up the greater Maasai Mara remain wild, and that the communities that count on income from tourism are supported during this global crisis. The Maasai Mara Rescue Fund, set up by nonprofit Conservation International in partnership with the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, will secure short-to-medium term loans to help cover lease payments owed by the conservancies to landowners and support their long-term sustainability. In 2019, Maasai landowners collected more than $7.5 million in lease payments; this year they are expecting less than half that sum. Standard Media.
7. The EU To Invest €10 Billion In Africa And EU Neighbourhood To Stimulate Global Recovery. European Commission took a major step forward in boosting investment in Africa and the EU Neighborhood, helping to stimulate global recovery from the pandemic, by concluding ten financial guarantee agreements worth €990 million with partner financial institutions that complete the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the financing arm of the External Investment Plan (EIP). Together, these guarantees are expected to generate up to €10 billion in overall investment. Modern Diplomacy.
8. The First Pan African B-2-B Digital Marketplace Shaping the Fashion Industry. Supported by the African Development Bank Group through the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance, the Fashionomics Africa online marketplace and mobile app enabling African fashion and textile entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses. It is the first pan-African business-to-business and business-to-consumer digital marketplace dedicated to textile, apparel, and accessories MSMEs, a collaboration with DHL as a logistics partner to reduce transportation costs. The good news is that Google is developing a partnership with the AFDB through the Fashionomics Africa Masterclasses to support fashion entrepreneurs in boosting their businesses by using digital tools. (devdiscourse.com).
9. USD $1 Billion Investment in Building The Next Generation Of Africa’s Leaders. Schmidt Futures, Rhodes Trust, and African Leadership Group Invests announced the opening of applications for Rise, a new global talent program to find outstanding young people who need opportunity, and support them for life as they use their talents to build a better world. Rise is the anchor program of a broader $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt. 500 finalists will be selected to participate in a virtual course, with the inaugural cohort of 100 winners(to be announced in July 2021) unlocking an opportunity to attend a summit to develop their leadership skills and explore service opportunities. They will receive a technology package, along with access to exclusive learning opportunities and need-based financial support for education and internships. Rise is implemented by the African Leadership Group and applications can be accessed through the app- Hello World - Rise. (African Leadership Group).
10. Inside the World Bank's New Trust Fund for Food Systems. The New World Bank Food Systems 2030 Trust Fund intends to raise — and spend — $1 billion by 2030 that will be used to support new agriculture and food models that jointly improve the health of people, economies, and the planet. Read more on: Devex.com
Graphic of The Week
The 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance #IIAG is out. New data shows that Africa’s governance performance declines for the first time in a decade. Access key findings & download the report here: Mo Ibrahim Foundation
What We Are Reading
Conserving Africa's Wildlife and Wildlands Through theCOVID-19 Crisis and Beyond.
The report shows that Africa has nearly 2000 Key Biodiversity Areas and supports the world’s most diverse and abundant large mammal populations, with wildlife-based tourism generating over $29 billion every year and employing 3.6 million people. 7,800 terrestrial protected areas cover some 17% of the continent. Nature Ecology and Evolution
Conservation funding in Africa is currently insufficient, lacking diversity and vulnerable to shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are potential solutions. Source: Lindsey, P., Allan, J., Brehony P., et al (2020), Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Voted Best Women's Prize for Fiction Winner.
Violence Between Gorillas Slows Population Growth.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun has been voted the best book to have won the Women's Prize for Fiction in its 25-year history. More than 8,500 people voted from a list of all 25 winners. Other past winners include Zadie Smith, the late Andrea Levy, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain, and Maggie O'Farrell. BBC.Com
Scientists say Gorilla population growth over the past 50 years in the Virunga Mountains of East Africa may have a negative side effect — an uptick in gorilla infanticide. Violence contributed to the Gorilla population’s annual growth rate declining by half between 2000 and 2012. Scientists say more gorillas in the same small territory means more violent encounters between groups. Forbes.com
Uganda’s Wood Asset and Forest Resources Accounts.
The Government of Uganda is moving towards its vision of resource-led industrialization by developing a set of natural capital accounts for the country. Under the Uganda Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) program, the government is now launching Wood Asset and Forest Resources Accounts, the first comprehensive inventory of Uganda’s wood assets and forest resources. Unfortunately, the accounts show that Uganda could run out of forests outside of gazetted protected areas by 2025, if the current rate of depletion, driven by population growth, urbanization, and poor management of natural resources is not checked. Demand for wood is projected to more than double between 2015 and 2040. Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
This African Island Is Slowly Breaking Up Into Smaller Islands. In prehistoric times around 88 million years ago, Madagascar, the island country in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, split off from the Indian subcontinent. Now, a new study shows the island is breaking up again, this time into smaller islands. While the East African rift system is thought to stretch from the Afar region of Ethiopia down south to Mozambique, in a new study, scientists are saying the splitting is “more complex and more distributed than previously thought”. It has been found that the rift system extends further down to the island of Madagascar which is also currently slowly breaking apart. World Economic Forum
Rising to Resilience: A Practical Guide for Business and Nature.
This is WWF’s practical guide illustrates steps businesses can take to help maintain profitability and social license to operate in a climate-insecure future. It breaks down the complex idea of planning for instability and managing change—beyond the capabilities of traditional risk management—and can help as companies work to ensure that investments of both time and resources are worthwhile in the long term. WWF
#NDCsWeWant: Enhancing Forest Targets and Measures in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
This paper provides recommendations for how government decision-makers can incorporate the full potential of forests for climate change mitigation and adaptation in NDCs under the Paris Agreement. It seeks to inform policymakers in developing measurable policies and actions for NDCs and other national climate strategies and policy documents. WWF
Wildlife Diseases Poised to Spread Northwards as Climate Changes: Study.
Published in the journal science the study warns that as the world’s climate warms, parasite-carried wildlife diseases will move north, with animals in cold far-north and high-altitude regions expected to suffer the most dramatic increases, warns a study to be published on Friday in the journal Science. The study is based on records of 7,346 wildlife populations comprising 1,381 terrestrial and freshwater species, from tiny insects to big mammals across all seven continents. Reuters.com
Enabling Factors to Scale Up Forest Landscape Restoration
The Roles of Governance and Economics: This study seeks to better understand enabling governance and economic factors that can inform FLR implementation, based on sound evidence gathered from diverse contexts. It draws on 10 country case studies to identify opportunities and avenues for scaling-up forest restoration, providing decision-makers with an overview of the many options available so that they can take the bold steps to make the changes required, at the pace required, to upscale FLR. WWF