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    Dear Colleagues,  

Welcome to the Twenty-Second 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 would like to hear from you.  Please take this quick survey to help us shape future digests.  

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Celebrating Earth Information Day: Looking Below the Surface of Quirimbas National Park:

The Quirimbas National Park, established in 2002 is home to one of the world’s 50 most resilient reefs (and all species of marine turtles) holds significant promise for global coral restoration and conservation while ensuring livelihoods for impoverished local communities. The area was identified and zoned with virtually no information on what lies underwater. Using data collected by an all-women science team in 2018 (including Inger Naslund Lara Muaves) WWF and partners have mapped the seascapes in the Quirimbas National Park, using ESA Copernicus Sentinel-2, drones, and mobile technology. This effort has mapped over 100,000 Hectares of shallow water habitat in this protected area - the first map of its kind to help park managers know where everything is and where to zone different activities like fisheries or tourism. The method is currently being scaled up to all of east Africa to map and monitor coral reefs and coastal mangroves. We think this is a great complement to the Allen Coral Atlas, which provides higher resolution products, but not as often or as customized as our 10m outputs. Learn about our journey here: (WWF).  

Gunshot Detection Technology Deployed To Save Endangered Species.

New technology, using artificial intelligence to analyse audio for gunshots and alert anti-poacher patrols, has been developed by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Google Cloud. Acoustic sensors placed in nature reserves or safaris can record events up to 1km (0.6 miles) away. Google Cloud and ZSL trialled this technology through a pilot in Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon  . They placed 69 audio recording devices into the park for a month, generating the equivalent of 267 days of continuous sound. The duo is now looking into fundraising opportunities to scale the technology. BBC

G-20 Announces New Initiative to Save Degrading Land. 

The world’s 20 most powerful economies have launched an initiative to protect land. The Leaders’ Declaration issued Sunday, 22 November 2020, states that the G-20 leaders launched "the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats to prevent, halt, and reverse land degradation. Building on existing initiatives, the G20 share the ambition to achieve a 50 percent reduction of degraded land by 2040, on a voluntary basis. This is particularly critical for Africa where the African Union mandates to bring 100 million hectares of degraded land into restoration by 2030. UNCCD 

Youth Activists from 118 Countries Demand Damages for Climate Victims At  Ongoing Virtual ‘Mock Cop26’. 

Delegates from 118 countries are taking part in a mock cop 26, with the majority coming from the developing world, including nations hit hard by climate change impacts. They are calling for polluters to pay damages to victims of climate disasters in vulnerable countries. Here is an Open Letter from young people.   (Climate Change News). In similar news, a majority of youth born between 1995 and 2000, say climate change is the most vital issue of their time, according to an Amnesty International survey last year. The Covid-19 pandemic has made them more optimistic that it’s not too late to repair the damage done to the environment, a conviction they share with millennials, according to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020.  About four out of five respondents think businesses and governments should make greater efforts to protect the environment. Bloomberg 


Playing For The Planet:

Over 970 Million Players In The Videogame Sector, which generated $120.1 billion in revenue have joined the United Nations’ Playing for the Planet Alliance, pledged to reduce emissions and to insert green elements into games. In joining the Alliance, members have made commitments ranging from integrating green activations in games, reducing their emissions, and supporting the global environmental agenda through initiatives ranging from planting millions of trees to reducing plastic in their products. For Africa. the transition to technology-driven, 21st-century business in a region where people are younger than anywhere else, is an excellent opportunity. The African Digital revolution has seen communications firms become a robust presence, making up 29% of the total market capitalization of the continent in 2020 compared to 13% a decade earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ( Bloomberg ). 

Seychelles Champions Coastal Wetlands In Climate Commitments. 

Seychelles was one of the first countries to commit to protecting at least 30% of its own waters—encompassing innovative conservation finance models such as “debt for nature swap” and blue bonds—and is now at the forefront of international negotiations to agree upon a global target of protecting 30% of the world’s ocean. Today, the country is embarking on its latest chapter in ocean leadership: protecting coastal wetlands such as seagrass within its next nationally determined contribution (NDC)   in order to help deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. (Pewtrust.com). 

Serengeti Declared Second Most Preferred Destination for 2021

Serengeti National Park has been singled out by global agents of an internationally renowned travel company - Ovation Travel Group as the second more preferred tourist destination due to, among other things, its unique features of wildlife. The Serengeti has over 530 recorded bird species among other species. Allafrica.com 

Biodiversity for Nutrition: Kenyan Schools Embrace Indigenous Foods. 

Globally, three staple crops ­– rice, maize, and wheat – account for more than 50 percent of calories consumed. In many parts of the world, these grains, and some vegetables, have replaced traditional fare because they are cheaper to grow. But local foods are often hardier and more nutritious than their exotic counterparts. Through the  Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project supported by the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment, over 14,000 pupils are now consuming local indigenous food across Kenya’s 47 counties. (UN Environment Programme).  

Zambia Considers Green Bonds As The Next Viable Funding Option Post COVID-19 Recovery. 

With 46% of the 2021 national budget expected to be funded externally, Zambia is now looking into diversifying its domestic revenue. Last week the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zambia announced its partnership with Biodiversity Finance Initiative to roll out green bonds. The copper mining country’s capital market is expected to launch a sandbox framework which will invite fintechs that will help with the intermediation process, while other product innovations such as green and social bond issuance frameworks await actualization. (The Business Telegraph). 

What We Are Reading 



The State of Protected and Conserved Areas in Eastern and Southern Africa

As a region, Eastern and Southern Africa has 16.54% of the terrestrial area protected in 4,821 protected areas covering 2,120,112 km2. At least seven countries in the region have exceeded Aichi Target 11 (17%) for terrestrial coverage. This is the first report that brings together information on protected and conserved areas for the whole Eastern and Southern Africa region. The report presents currently available data and information and includes a global overview of conservation and the related policies and programmes, as well as a regional analysis. (iucn.org) 

Elephant Genetics Guide Conservation in Tanzania 

A large-scale study of African elephant genetics in Tanzania reveals the history of elephant populations, how they interact, and what areas may be critical to conserve in order to preserve genetic diversity for species conservation. The study, by researchers at Penn State, appears online in the journal Ecology & Evolution and is the first to explore gene flow — a process vital to maintain necessary genetic diversity for species survival — between protected areas in Africa. Penn State News 

CITES MIKE Programme Reports Continued Downward Trends in Elephant Poaching in Parts of Africa.
 
The CITES programme for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) has published its annual report analyzing the continental and sub-regional trends in the proportion of illegally killed elephants, based on data collected by MIKE sites in Africa. The data set used for this new PIKE trend analysis for Africa consists of 20,712 records of elephant carcasses found between 2003 and the end of 2019. Cites.org  

Big Mammals Are At Risk In The World’s Poorest Countries, Even Within Parks.

Poaching is a pervasive global problem, and iconic mammals like elephants and rhinos are hit hard by illegal hunting. This is especially true in the world’s poorest countries and within protected areas. Specifically protected areas of Africa are highly at risk of losing species. Tackling development in Africa is essential to address overhunting. (Mongabay). 
 
COVID-19: A Catastrophe for Children In Sub-Saharan Africa 

A new report from UNICEF outlines the pandemic's potential impacts on this already vulnerable group. The report, entitled COVID-19: A Catastrophe for Children in Sub-Saharan Africa, reviews information from nearly 40 databases with emerging country-level reporting from more than 41 African nations. (UNICEF). 

Happy: The Elephant From The Bronx Zoo And Now In The Courtroom 

Last week the New York Supreme Court began to determine whether Happy—an elephant in the Bronx Zoo—is legally a person. This files legal charges pressed by the Non-Human Rights Project arguing that Happy’s solitude (she has been kept alone since 2006) is unjust, because elephants are naturally sociable and she is a particularly “intelligent, autonomous being”. In 2005, Happy was the first elephant to recognize her reflection. If Happy were granted a legal persona, she would pave the way for other animals. (The Economist). 

USAID Global Waters: Strengthening Drought Monitoring Across the Middle East and North Africa.

In one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, USAID and partners are helping create more resilient communities by preparing them to stay one step ahead of the next drought. Read more in this report: (International Water Management Institute). 

COVID-19 and Gender Equality: Six Actions for the Private Sector:

This publication recommends six actions the private sector can implement to ensure that both women and men can return to economic activities during and after the pandemic and participate equally as leaders, employees, business owners, and consumers. These recommendations are based on data collected from IFC surveys and interviews conducted with a total of 715 companies in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia Pacific; IFC 

Addressing Violence Against Women During COVID-19.

Last week marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women —a day to recognize violence against women (VAW) as a persistent and pervasive human rights and development issue, researchers have teamed up to improve understanding of how pandemics and other crises increase the likelihood of violence against women, tracking a growing evidence base focused on rates of VAW in the COVID context, and propose solutions for how donor institutions and policymakers should respond to this shadow pandemic and prevent a return to a pre-COVID-19 “normal”—a state in which one in three women already experienced some form of violence. (Centre for Global Governance). 

Africa Industrialization Week 2020: Trends In African Industrialisation.

Manufacturing share of exports, on the other hand, has expanded over time from 35.5% in 2008 to 48.9% in 2018, with exports having become increasingly integrated into global value chains (GVCs). With that being said, there are some positive trends taking place in some regional economic blocs. In the East Africa Community (EAC) for example, Uganda’s share of exports to EAC grew from a tenth in 2005 to a third of all exports by 2017 (IGC, 2020). The International Growth Centre 
 


Chart of The Week


Seven African Countries Among World's Top 10 Fastest-Growing Economies

When all is said and done in 2020, African economies will probably have outperformed the rest of the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Africa's 54 countries now include seven of the globe's 10 fastest-growing economies, in part because the lethal virus may have improved their competitive advantage as they accelerated their decade-long transformation from exporters of natural resources to hubs of wireless, remotely engaged commerce. The economies of Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya withstood the economic impact of the pandemic so successfully that they were among the world’s 10 fastest-growing in 2020. At least five of them are expected to remain in that elite growth club through 2022, according to forecasts by economists compiled by Bloomberg during the past three months. Two years ago, Africa included only three of the best performers and in 2015 it had four.
(Bloomberg).

 


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