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04 May 2021

Dear Colleagues

Missed us last week? Never mind, we are back with a double issue of the Africa Weekly Digest covering news, stories, and publications that captured our hearts and minds in the past two weeks. 

Top stories in this edition include WWF 60th Anniversary; Earth Day; Leaders Summit for the Climate,  Malaria Vaccine, and many more.

Happy reading and looking forward to your feedback.

This newsletter is made in Africa and globally curious!

60 Years of Action for Nature and People

From working with governments and communities to ban offshore oil exploration in fragile barrier reefs to securing water flows and safeguarding clean water for millions of people around the water, WWF has come a long way towards building a future where people and nature can thrive. As part of the 60th Anniversary celebration, discover some of the network's recent successes, the mighty challenges yet to be overcome, and how together, we can overcome this. Learn more about our last 60 years here: WWF.
African Development Bank President says the continent is “ground zero” of the crisis as major economies boost Climate targets

Adesina also highlighted the African Development Bank’s role as a climate change warrior. Bank had committed $25 billion to climate finance over the next four years. Its share of financing devoted to climate rose from 9% in 2016 to 35% in 2019 and will reach 40% in 2021.  In addition, the African Development Bank recently joined forces with the Global Center on Adaptation to launch the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, which aims to mobilize $25 billion for climate adaptation by 2025. Supporters of the initiative include UN Secretary-General António Guterres and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Has Covid-19 affected Africa's climate targets?

African leaders attended a global virtual meeting brokered by the US to discuss climate change. But with anti-COVID efforts eroding countries' finances, is there an appetite for radical changes in economic policy? BBC 
Banana wars: Is Africa losing the battle against South America?

The pan-African association Afruibana is sounding the alarm as South American bananas become increasingly popular on the European market, severely impacting producers in Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Ghana. Africa report

AU Pledges to Increase Share of Africa’s Vaccine Manufacturing 

For decades, Africa has imported 99% of its vaccines. Now, the continent’s leaders want to bring manufacturing home. Last week, heads of state attending a meeting co-organized by Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union pledged to increase the share of vaccines manufactured in Africa from 1% to 60% by 2040. This includes building factories and bolstering capacity in research and development.  Nature
 A new US-led Malaria initiative has African Scientists calling for the “decolonization” of donor funding

A recently published letter by a group of prominent African scientists and health practitioners to international funders has reignited a conversation over the funding models used by western governments and global health institutions for the continent.Quartz

Climate change will not be fixed without Africa

 Africa is responsible for only 4 percent of global carbon emissions. Of the seven countries in the world that emit two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions, none are African, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Meanwhile, Africa faces droughts, floods, declining agricultural productivity, deforestation, difficult access to water, rising seas, advancing deserts, and a rural exodus.

Unlocking the Power of Data for Wildlife Conservation

In Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park, rangers study the map on their screen to see if there are any places they haven’t checked. They’re searching for six-year-old “teen” Chilunda, a critically endangered black rhino, missing for five months in the park’s rhino

South African Activist awarded global human rights prize

Sibusiso Innocent Zikode has been awarded a prestigious global prize for his work promoting human rights for residents of informal settlements. He co-founded the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement 15 years ago and has now received the Per Anger Prize, the Swedish Government’s international prize for human rights and democracy. BBC 
African Collectors are driving global sales of contemporary African art

Sotheby’s recently concluded its bi-annual Modern & Contemporary African Art auction, exceeding the lower end of its pre-sale estimate by over 40% to net £2.7 million ($3.7 million). Participants hailed from 34 countries, with over a third of buyers transacting with Sotheby’s for the first time, making the auction houses’ third online-only auction of contemporary African art a major success.Quartz Africa .

UK supports East African leadership in tackling climate change

East African countries are coming forward with ambitious plans for tackling climate change and the UK their  efforts through funding and technical assistance, such as the  £24.5 million commitment, which helped establish the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA).

Burkina Faso is at the forefront of micro-irrigation

Ouagadougou has launched a vast programme to promote micro-irrigation, with some 2,000ha already developed with this cultivation technique, thanks to 1,500 water tanks. Burkina Faso has gone from 20 pilot farms in 2019 to implementing this method in nearly 500 farms.

No Monkey Business: For Zanzibar’s 6,000 Red Colobus, speed bumps are lifesavers

With fewer than 6,000 of Zanzibar’s iconic red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus kirkii) left in the world, there’s much about their well-being that worries scientists. Near the top of that list: their road sense. Or the lack of it, as evidenced by videos captured by primatologists showing them sauntering across a road amid heavy traffic, scurrying.

Tapping regional integration to bolster resilience in the Horn of Africa

Finance Ministers of theHorn of Africa Initiative met virtually on March 31, 2021 to further the gains realized in strengthening regional integration in order to bolster resilience in the Horn of Africa. World Bank 
Who is winning World Bank contracts? A breakdown of trends from 2017-2020.

Our latest analysis of the regions, sectors, and organizations funded through World Bank contracts finds that transportation, water and sanitation, and energy still top the list. Devex
Women poorly represented in COVID-19 Task Force across Africa

The representation of women in Asia and Africa were much lower than the global average. Only 15 per cent members of the 75 task forces in Asia and 19 per cent members of the 69 task forces in Africa were women. Down to earth

Total’s East African oil pipeline to go ahead despite stiff opposition

Developed by French oil major Total and Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the project has faced staunch opposition from environmentalists who point out that it cuts through some of East Africa’s most biodiversity-rich areas. Mongabay.

Africa's largest clinical trial for early-stage COVID-19 drugs launches

Researchers are recruiting participants for Africa’s largest clinical trial for treatments for early-stage COVID-19. The trial will examine a drug combination aimed at treating patients with mild-to-moderate cases, hoping to prevent their progression into critical cases.Devex


Historical Malaria vaccine hailed as potential breakthrough 

A malaria vaccine has proved to be 77% effective in early trials and could be a major breakthrough against the disease, says the University of Oxford team behind it. Malaria kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. But despite many vaccines being trialled over the years, this is the first to meet the required target.BBC

Malaria: is a vaccine the silver bullet? | Global health innovation -  global development professionals network | The Guardian

Pandora says laboratory-made Diamonds are forever

The world's biggest jeweller, Pandora, says it will no longer sell mined diamonds and will switch to exclusively laboratory-made diamonds.

Concerns about the environment and working practices in the mining industry have led to growing demand for alternatives to mined diamonds.BBC

UK needs a rethink on huge cut to Foreign Aid

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab let the cat out of the bag to the Lords’ international relations and defence committee this week by admitting that he is cutting the UK aid budget for girlseducation by more than 40 per cent, and reducing UK bilateral aid to Africa to a third of what it was two years ago. Standard
New Beef Scorecard measures brands against their deforestation promises

A new review published by environmental nonprofit Mighty Earth measures 15 of the biggest global food brands by their own commitments to provide consumers with deforestation-free beef products, spotlighting the gap between promises and action. 

Climate Emergency: The new science showing it’s make-or-break time

As climate talks ramp up ahead of the crucial COP26 meeting in Glasgow, new research on what our carbon emissions are doing to the planet paints a disturbing picture. Read more:

World's 5% 'Polluter Elite' Responsible for 37% of Global Emissions Growth, Study Concludes

As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

 Greta Thunberg becomes 'bunny hugger' on Twitter  

The change comes after remarks made by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, to US President Joe Biden's virtual climate summit on 22 April. In his speech, Boris Johnson described "the politically correct green act of bunny hugging". BBC 
Fridays For Future is an international climate movement active in most  countries and our website offers information on who we are and what you can  do.

Climate Change Could Cut World Economy by $23 Trillion in 2050, Insurance Giant Warns

Poor nations would be particularly hard hit, but few would escape, Swiss Re said. The indings could influence how the industry prices insurance and invests its mammoth portfolios. New York Times.
Effects | Facts – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Energy Charter Treaty strikes again as Uniper sues Netherlands over coal phase-out

German energy company Uniper has confirmed its intention to sue the Dutch government over the country’s planned coal phase-out, in what will be the second legal challenge filed against the Netherlands this year under the controversial Energy Charter Treaty.

Uniper confirmed to EURACTIV its intention to file a claim under the Energy Charter Treaty, saying the Dutch coal phase-out law, agreed in December 2019, violates international law and lacks adequate compensation for affected
Wyoming state leaders create $1.2M campaign to save coal-fired power |  Power Engineering

To protect nature, bring down the walls of fortress conservation

There is a lot of potential in ensuring people have the means to resist industrial expansion that’s fuelling species loss, climate breakdown and deepening inequalities. For example, tedious bureaucratic processes must be simplified in Indonesia and Indigenous people fighting for community forestry management in Democratic Republic of Congo must be sufficiently supported as part of new and more ambitious global protection targets. Greenpeace

George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder

A US jury has found a former police officer guilty of murder over the death of African-American George Floyd on a Minneapolis street last year.
2021 Earth Day & Leaders Summit for Climate

Africa’s participation in the summit reflects the continent’s role as an important factor in the world’s efforts to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Whether it is reducing deforestation, desertification, or addressing rising sea levels, it is impossible to address the worst impacts of climate change without Africa’s input and cooperation. Read more in our blog, reflectsing on; Tangible Outcomes From the Biden’s Leaders Climate Summit are Critical for Climate Justice in Africa.
Biden announces US aim to cut Carbon Emissions by 52% by 2030 

President Joe Biden  kicked off a virtual climate summit attended by 40 other world leaders by announcing an ambitious cut in greenhouse gas emissions as he looks to put the US back at the center of the global effort to address the climate crisis and curb carbon emissions.CNN

Scaling Business Action for Climate and Nature: A CEO Dialogue

On the eve of President Biden’s Global Leaders Summit, where forty heads of state are convening to discuss their commitments to address climate change, WWF hosted “Scaling Business Action for Climate and Nature: A CEO Dialogue.” The event brought together top business leaders who have made significant science-based targets and climate commitments reflective of the Paris Agreement. CEOs from Walmart, McDonald’s Corporation, HP Inc. The Hershey Company, and Gap, Inc. spoke about what the private sector needs from the government to accelerate their climate action, and the support business can provide to the public sector in tackling climate change. WWF 

Governments, Companies Pledge $1 Billion for Tropical Forests

A new initiative to mobilize at least $1 billion to reward tropical countries for halting deforestation was announced April 22, Earth Day, at the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the U.S. President Joe Biden. The initiative, called the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance), will offer significant economic incentives for protecting tropical forest. Mongabay 
    President Biden hosts a summit on climate with 40 world leaders


Beyond Tourism in Africa 

The latest issue of Travel Africa magazine features an article by WWF’s Melissa De Kock on the Beyond Tourism Africa innovation challenge, highlighting some of the winning ideas that we think will diversify incomes for wildlife and community conservation.

                                 What We Are Reading 

Illegal Wildlife Trade and Financial Investigations in West Africa.
Bridging the data-policy gap in Africa. The Living Lib
Security crisis in Lake Chad Basin erodes women’s livelihoods.
The African Union and the Tigray crisis. Orfonline
How would a forest-based circular bioeconomy in sub-Saharan Africa ensure local wellbeing. 
Forest News
World Income Inequality Database - WIID. Winder.unu 
A new deal for the young: saving the environment. Financial Times 
Burkina Faso ambush: Spaniards and Irishman killed after abductionBBC 
Africa’s latent assets.
Hit South African documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ cements Netflix’s foothold in Africa The
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti: The constant instability in the Horn of Africa.
DFC Announces Call for Applications for Climate-Focused Investment Funds.
Protecting whales is climate positive. 
WWF brochure Financing a Nature-Positive Global Economy, a new narrative document describing the intersection between nature and finance, from risk to dependencies and disclosure, and nature-positive financing. The brochure is publicly available on
WWF Kenya published a new report on the State of Sustainable Finance in Kenya's Banking Industry. Click here to learn more!
Humanity’s dysfunctional relationship with Earth can still be fixed, report says. Mongabay 
Farming with Biodiversity;WWF


Graphics of The Week
The Graphic Truth: Press freedom in pandemic times
The Graphic Truth: Where populations will rise, fall most
What We Are Watching
The Story of Plastic (Animated Short) pulls back the curtain on the plastic pollution headlines, revealing the true causes and consequences of the global plastics crisis.
May 11, 2021. There is no climate justice without racial justice, and we stand with Black leadership in the global climate movement. It’s time for a Red, Black & Green New Deal. Learn more at

May 11 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Ensuring Equitable Response to COVID-19 and Beyond. Registration required:

Jun 1, 2021, 3:00 AM - Jun 2, 2021, 11:00 AM .14th German-African Energy Forum. Africa Energy Forum 

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Copyright © *| Africa Weekly Digest- 12 April 2021
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