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Welcome to our Africa Weekly Digest- a round-up of the news, stories, and publications that capture our hearts every week. 

This newsletter is made in Africa and globally curious

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AfDB Launches Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme at Climate Adaptation Summit.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) announced a new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) during the Climate Adaptation summit. This flagship program will focus on agriculture, infrastructure, youth and innovative finance. The African Development Bank has committed to mobilize $25 billion as climate finance between 2020 and 2025, of which at least 50% will support climate adaptation and resilience building. AfdB and GCA will use this to leverage an additional $12.5 billion through other key partners. At the summit Germany pledges US$268 million to support climate resiliency in low-income countries while Japan shall provide US$69 million to improve rice irrigation facilities in SenegalDonor Tracker

Update from Davos: How Africa can lead an Inclusive, Cohesive and Sustainable Pandemic Recovery.

Government and business leaders must focus on four key priority areas, including implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area, ensuring a just transition to zero emissions, and harnessing the digital transformation. These efforts can help support an inclusive, sustainable recovery for the region. This article is part of the updates from Davos: World Economic Forum

NEW SPECIES ALERT! ‘Spectacular’ orange-furred Bat described from West African Mountain

An orange-furred bat has been described from the caves and mining tunnels of the Nimba Mountains in Guinea. Researchers say the bat had such a distinctive look that they quickly recognized it was a species new to science. The newly described species, which they named Myotis nimbaensis, meaning “from Nimba,” may also be critically endangered and found only in this particular mountain range. Mongabay .

How much is an Elephant worth? Meet the Ecologists doing the sums.

In 2014, researchers led by the ecological economist Robert Costanza updated the 1997 valuation of the Earth’s ecosystem services. It was estimated they were now worth $125tn a year. Meet the ecologist working on valuating an elephant:  The Guardian

Scientists produce Embryos in Race to Save Northern White Rhino from Extinction

Scientists working to save the northern white rhino from extinction have produced two more embryos of the world's most endangered mammal, increasing the number of viable embryos produced so far to five. There are no known living males and neither of the two remaining northern white rhinos on Earth- a mother and her daughter living in Kenya - can carry a calf to term.

Fears for Rosewood as Guinea-Bissau prepares to lift Six-year Logging Ban

The Guinea-Bissau government is poised to lift a moratorium on logging that came into force in 2015. Forestry officials and conservationists say they fear a return to rampant overharvesting of rosewood and other valuable species. Mongabay 

Uganda Start-up ventures into Solar Smartphones

Simi Mobile, a Uganda startup company has introduced the solar charged phone to address the plight of 60 per cent of the population which is living outside the electricity grid. They also want to make it cheap and user friendly for government services.

Siemens Mobility to install first ever high-speed Rail System in Egypt

Siemens Mobility have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) together with the local companies Orascom Construction S.A.E. and The Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Co.), to design, install and commission Egypt’s first-ever high-speed rail transportation system.  

African Tech Startup funding passes $700m in record-breaking 2020

397 startups raised an impressive US$701.5 million in total funding. Both these figures are up substantially on the previous year, with the number of funded startups increasing 27.7 per cent on 2019, and the funding total growing by 42.7 per cent. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt remain emphatically Africa’s “big four” from a funding perspective:  Disrupt Africa

Africa50, Foreign Policy launch Infrastructure-focused Podcast Series

The podcast features visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and heads of institutions, who will share their views and insights on the continent’s challenges and investment opportunities. Africa50


Dzanga Sangha Protected Area Celebrates 30 years.
Check out some of the latest activities happening in the Dzanga Sangha Protected Area:
Gorillas in Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas

Nigeria emerges as Africa’s primary export hub for Ivory, Pangolin scales

Increased political buy-in for law enforcement and interdiction efforts at ports in East Africa have pushed wildlife smuggling westward to Nigeria. Between 1998 and 2014, the top two countries associated with ivory seizures were Tanzania and Kenya. Since 2014, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo have overtaken them.

Namibia Presses ahead with sale of 170 Elephants

With only a week left until the bidding process closes for the sale of 170 of Namibia’s elephants, opposition is mounting, with thousands that have already signed online petitions calling for the sale to be cancelled. The petition calling for the cancellation of the sale has gained 3,136 signatures. Africanelephantjournal

Securing the Future of Nature-based Tourism in Africa

WWF is developing an African-led Collaborative Platform which aspires to build resilience in tourism to ensure that important place-based tourism systems survive during and after crises. The project was allocated USD 1.9 million as a medium-sized grant from the GEF, triggered by USD 5,269,281 in co-financing raised collectively by the project partners. Read the news story here.

Africa Forest Carbon Catalyst Targets 1 Billion tonnes of emissions reductions in Africa.
It is designed to start to unlock the 1 billion tonnes of emissions reductions potential annually which are possible through forest conservation and restoration pathways in Africa. It works a bit like a tech accelerator by offering technical and financial support to help scale the most promising African enterprises working in this space. Nature

COVID-19 Vaccine in Africa: Mo Ibrahim and Others Lament Sorry State of Access

Sudanese philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others are ringing alarm bells about the unfariness of COVID-19 provision, which is likely to hit Africa and poor countries the worst.  The Africa Report  

Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport breaks world record for using most efficient COVID-19 screening technology.

Kenya is the first country on the continent to use the innovation for efficient management of air travels, having been approved on January 9 by the Ministry of Health to help verify Covid-19 test certificates for travellers while harmonising entry and exit screening. Visitors jetting into the country from other countries are now enjoying a 15-minute clearance duration, compared to several hours in other global airports. Business Daily Africa

Africa’s Only 8 Countries Without Chinese Investment in Africa
The countries include Gambia #Guineabisaau #BurkinaFaso #Eswatini #Lesotho #Somalia #Somaliland #CentralAfricanRepublic

Emerging Stronger: How Africa’s policymakers can bolster their economies during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis

The path to more robust and resilient African economies will be a challenging one, calling for boldness, imagination, and tenacious implementation on the part of policymakers,” writes Vera Songwe et al from the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Read the full article here: Brookings


Biden Issues Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

This order builds on and reaffirms actions President Biden’s Administration has already taken to place the climate crisis at the forefront of US foreign policy and national security planning. To this effect, the US government will host an early Leaders’ Climate Summit aimed at raising climate ambition and making a positive contribution to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and beyond.  White House

UK to launch Global Climate Adaptation Effort with partner Countries

Britain will team up with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, Saint Lucia and the Netherlands to help communities around the world that are threatened by climate change to adapt and build resilience.

Transforming Conservation in times of Crisis and Opportunity (Commentary)

Fred Nelson of Maliasili, Alasdair Harris of Blue Ventures, Leela Hazzah of Lion Guardians, and Lúcia G. Lohmann of the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) write that the extraordinary circumstances brought by the pandemic create new, unique opportunities for systemic change. Read more here: Mongabay


WWF Calls for a strongly backed Climate Adaptation Agenda at the Global Adaptation Summit currently underway. 

The Global Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) is the first global summit dedicated to adapting to the increasing impacts of climate change. It brings together global leaders (including Mark Rutte, Angela Merkel, António Guterres, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron) as well as mayors and representatives of NGOs and communities. It will see the launch of a comprehensive Adaptation Action Agenda that sets out clear commitments to deliver concrete new endeavours and partnerships to make our world more resilient to the effects of climate change.  WWF

Dozens of smuggled Chameleons found in Suitcase in Austria.

Dozens of protected chameleons are being nursed back to health at an Austrian zoo after they were discovered in a suitcase at Vienna airport. The animals were spotted by security after an X-Ray of the suitcase appeared suspicious. Some 74 chameleons were found hidden in socks and boxes. They would sell for about 37,000 euros (£32,850; $44,970) on the black market, officials said. BBC

These Conservation Stories Prove 2021 was not all bad news 

From new discoveries to indigenous-led protected areas, this year was not without its conservation wins. Here are just a few of the most unique and impactful conservation stories of 2020.


What the Future of Farming Will Look Like

Agnes Kalibata, the UN's Food Systems Chief, shares her thoughts on how science can transform farming to help save the planet.

Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review. UN Environment

Gold rush’ as Botswana meets appetite for Lion goods.
Science-Based Targets Report
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a coalition established in 2015 which aims to enable companies to set emission reduction targets in line with leading climate science. Science Based Targets.

Death by 1,000 cuts: Are major Insect losses Imperiling life on Earth?: Scientists warn of ongoing global insect abundance losses and say we lack a full understanding of invertebrate extinction causes and synergies. Action to curb extinction rates desperately needed: Studies.
Africa Daily.

Principles for Locally led Adaptation: In support of the Global Commission on Adaptation’s 
Locally Led Action Track, World Resources Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) have developed a set of principles, based on over a year of consultations, to strengthen locally-led adaptation. World Resource Institute  

UNEP Report Identifies Top Actions to Minimize Adverse Impacts of Pesticides, Fertilizers: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has published a report on the environmental and health impacts of pesticides and fertilizers and ways to minimize those impacts.


Can African Farmers beat Climate Change?

Feeding a continent is hard work. To produce enough food for 1.3 billion people is no mean feat, but climate change is making that job even more difficult. As the world is getting hotter, African farmers are in a race against time to find new and ingenious ways to work under increasingly extreme conditions. A Malawian farmer has an idea – but can she succeed? Listen here: BBC 

Check out the latest infographic showing which countries in Africa have signed bilateral agreements with which vaccine manufacturers and which countries.


Africa Weekly Digest  by WWF Regional Office for Africa 

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