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    Dear Colleagues,  

Welcome to the Twentieth 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”.    

Happy reading and we look forward to your feedback.    
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1. Kenya's President Saves A Fig Tree From A Chinese-funded Highway. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued a decree to save a much-loved century-old fig tree from being cut down to make way for a Chinese-funded highway in the capital Nairobi. The East African nation's roads agency had said in October it planned to uproot and transplant it in order to erect a pillar to support the expressway. (Reuters.com).
               

2. Biggest Ever Gemstone Discovered In Botswana. A Canadian company, Lucara
Diamond Corp said it has found a 998-carat high white diamond, putting it among the five largest stones ever discovered. In 2015, the company found the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, which sold for $53 million, while the mine has also yielded a 813-carat Constellation stone that fetched a record $63 million.  Bloomberg.com

3. Elephants Have Ventured Back Into Areas Largely Emptied Of People By Boko Haram Insurgency. More than 250 elephants ventured last month from Chad and Cameroon into Kala-Balge, a district in Nigeria’s Borno state. The presence of numerous village populations in Borno had for years deterred the elephants, who are usually wary of human settlements. As the elephants venture back, locals residing in nearby camps worry about their crops being eaten by the elephants. The elephants in north-east Nigeria make up one of the last great herds in west Africa. Their first sighting in the region since the Boko Haram insurgency began was in December last year. (
The Guardian).

4. Saving Uganda's Bugoma Forest: Ugandan Conservationists are Lobbying the European Union to back a campaign to save part of the nation’s third-biggest forest, home to chimpanzees, forest elephants, and unique plants. The area is under threat from sugarcane farming. The activists want the EU, a key funder of state environmental agencies, to exert pressure on authorities to reverse a decision to clear 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres) of the 41,000-hectare Bugoma Forest. Uganda earned more than $1.6 billion from tourism last year, drawing foreign visitors with attractions such as mountain gorillas, tree-climbing lions, and the source of the Nile River. Bloomberg.com.  
Photo(right): Wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) vocalizing in Kibale Forest. Kibale National Park, Uganda

5. A Global Seaweed ‘Plague’ Is Threatening West Africa's Coastline. From the Gulf of Guinea to the mouth of the Senegal River, a sprawling shroud of seaweed is choking coastal ecosystems and the fishing communities that depend on them. Researchers in Ghana with partners in Barbados, Jamaica and the United Kingdom are investigating the cause. The researchers’ work includes developing a Sargassum early-warning system using satellite imagery, modeling, and drones. Their main goal is to identify adaptation opportunities and build resilience among the poorest and worst-impacted communities, including those that derive their primary income from artisanal fishing.  (Mongabay).

6. Elephant Listening Project Comes To Dzanga Bai: WWF  in the Central Africa Republic have signed an MOU with the Elephant Listening Project (https://elephantlisteningproject.org) from Cornell University to re-establish a research presence at Dzanga Bai, for the purpose of monitoring the health and demography of the forest elephant population and to deter poaching in the vicinity.  Read about this and other stories are in their latest newsletter: 
Dzanga-sangha.org


7. Mauritius Is Cleaning Up Another Oil Spill- But This Time On Land. Barely months after nearly 4,000 metric tons of oil, ran aground on a coral reef on the island of Mauritius’s southeast coast, another oil tragedy has occurred, but this time on land. State-owned power company Central Electricity Board said it discovered on Oct. 30 that about 15 cubic meters (13 metric tons) of heavy oil had leaked through pipes connecting storage tanks near Port Louis, the Indian Ocean island nation’s capital. Mauritius burns heavy oil in power plants to produce about 40% of its electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. Bloomberg 

8. IUCN And Partners Launch The Nature+ Accelerator Fund. With the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as an anchor investor, the Nature+ Accelerator Fund has already secured $8 million in risk-tolerant financing. The commercially-operated fund, which will be managed by asset management company Mirova, aims to raise further investment to create a $200 million portfolio of projects ranging from the seed investment phase through to the sustainable growth phase. (The Global Environment Facility). This builds on emerging forms of conservation finance such as ‘Payments for results’ whose model transfers upfront risk to private capital markets. `one such example is the Rhino Impact Investment (RII) Project(Financial Times).  Funding for biodiversity has not kept pace with Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) in recent years, even though an estimated US$44 trillion of economic value generation – over half the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on the natural world

9. New US Visa Restrictions For Wildlife And Timber Traffickers: On November 10th the United States announced a first-of-its-kind visa restriction on wildlife and timber traffickers.  Wildlife and timber trafficking are serious transnational organized crime activities that threaten national security, undermine economic prosperity, fuel corruption, and spread disease. This new tool will help disrupt the movements and business of transnational criminal organizations, making it harder for them to smuggle illegal wildlife and timber. 
State.gov

10. This $1 “Made-in-Africa” Covid-19 Test-kit Could Revolutionize Testing On The Continent. The Pasteur Institute, a biomedical research center based in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar, says it is close to producing an affordable, handheld Covid-19 diagnostic test kit that can give results in a matter of minutes. A prototype was tested in June this year and once regulatory checks are complete, the plan is to commence manufacturing and distributing the kit through governments and health organizations like the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). (
CNN).

 


WHAT WE ARE READING

IFC/ Google E-conomy 2020 Africa Report:
In a first-ever collaboration between IFC and Google, this report surveys the continent’s internet landscape and details how tech entrepreneurs are creating a resilient and transformative digital economy that is helping boost innovation, create jobs, and reduce poverty. The report shows that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2 percent of the continent’s GDP by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy. International Finance Corporation 


Africa’s Digital Marketplace: Tapping Into The $180 Billion Opportunity.
Fueled by a growing and increasingly urbanized population, the African internet economy has the potential to contribute up to $180 billion to the continent’s GDP by 2025. The goods news is that investment interest in Africa’s digital startups boomed in 2019, with $2.02 billion raised in equity funding. A further $350 million was raised in the first quarter of 2020. Regional harmonization, and infrequent regulatory changes, are key to start-up success. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is one major milestone toward this harmonization. Read more here: International Finance Institution  

Africa Oil And Gas Review 2020. 
With global oil demand now estimated to never again exceed 2019 demand levels, the global energy markets have truly reached a tipping point. This tenth edition of PwC’s Africa Oil and Gas Review, builds on annual insights into the sector, as well as expands the focus on African economies and the renewable energy transition and the opportunities that this presents to the African continent.  PwC

AfDB Road Map For Rebooting African Economies.
Investing in infrastructure, closing the energy gap, mobilising capital, and creating jobs are the top four priority areas that African countries should focus on to help economies across the continent rebound according to a recent statement issued by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. Read the full statement on Devex.com. 

Africa’s Dragon’s Debt Trap.
Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia, according to the World Bank’s international debt statistics, are among the world’s most indebted countries. Kenya’s external debt rose four times over the last decade, only second to Ethiopia that saw its debt increase five-fold during the decade. Find out more in this in-depth analysis. Hindustan Times  

Divergent Regional Perspectives To Enhance Wildlife Conservation Across Africa.
Nature Ecology and Evolution argues that in African wildlife conservation literature, southern and southeastern African voices dominate, giving a false impression of pan-Africanism.  In the absence of a pan-African consensus they add that empathy towards multiple perspectives, reflecting African diversity, is crucial to reach coherence in wildlife policy across Africa.( Nature.com). 

A Covid-era Safari In Rwanda.
Rwanda's tourism industry is adapting to create a safe environment for travelers and operators, in order to thrive in these unprecedented times. Because the 1,000 or so of its mountain gorillas are genetically so close to humans, they are also susceptible to Covid-19. Unlike during the Pre-COVID-19 times, tourists, who must test negative for Covid shortly before visiting the apes, are restricted to groups of six and are required to keep safe physical distance. Read more about Tourism in Rwanda and how it’s cautious re-opening its doors to tourists. Financial Times.

Leprosy Is Striking Wild Chimpanzees.
Scientists have, for the first time, confirmed cases of the Leprosy in two separate populations of chimps, in Guinea-Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire. Genetic analysis of the strains show that they are unlikely to have come from humans and might indicate an unknown reservoir of the disease in the wild. Nature Communication 

 


Renewables 2020: Analysis And Forecast To 2025. Renewables 2020 provides detailed analysis and forecasts through 2025 of the impact of Covid-19 on renewables in the electricity heat and transport sectors. Explore the full report here: International Energy Agency  

Climate Finance Shadow Report:
In 2009 and as part of the Paris agreement, donor countries committed to mobilize $100bn per year to developing countries to finance climate by 2020. The definition and measurement of that commitment has been a subject of ongoing debate with questions about the baseline, what counts as “new and additional,” measures of lending and ‘leverage’ and how to measure whether spend is really for ‘climate’. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have just closed their consultation on measuring progress, the OECD has just published its report on Climate Finance Provided and Mobilized in Developing Countries, while Oxfam have also published their Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 looking at progress towards the target.

OECD Global Outlook On Financing For Sustainable Development 2021:
This report calls for a new way to invest for people & the planet through better alignment of global finance with the #SDGs & away from unsustainable activities. → oe.cd/GO21 

Blue Peace Index:
The Index assesses the management of shared water resources across five pillars: Policy & legal frameworks, Institutional arrangements & participation, Water management instruments, Infrastructure & financing, and Cooperation. The inaugural 2019 index measures 24 countries around five basins: Amazon, Mekong, Sava, Senegal, and Tigris-Euphrates. Blue Peace Index

 

 

 
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