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Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the Africa Weekly Digest covering news, stories, and publications that captured our hearts this past week. 

Top stories this week include a new species of Chameleon discovered in Madagascar, Elephant migration in Chobe, the Dasgupta report, and many more. 

Happy reading and looking forward to your feedback.


This newsletter is made in Africa and globally curious
 
 

AFRICA  

New Species of tiny Chameleon discovered in Madagascar

Scientists have discovered a new species of chameleon in Madagascar, which could be the smallest in the world. The new species is called the Brookesia nana, and is about the size of a sunflower seed. BBC 

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Africa Palm Oil Initiative - New Partnerships for Forests funding to continue work of Central and West African countries

The Initiative brings together partners from ten palm oil-producing countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Edo State in Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone. Proforest.net


Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park,  Africa's 1st to join the Global Coalition “United for Biodiversity. 

Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, is proud to announce it becomes officially the very first institution from Africa to join the Global Coalition #UnitedforBiodiversity.  The Coalition was launched by EU Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius on the occasion of World Wildlife Day 2020. Africanelephantjournal.com
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African Elephants are migrating to safety—and telling each other how to get there

Botswana is now home to roughly 130,000 elephants—a third of Africa’s entire elephant population. African elephants in nearby countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia are migrating to parks like Chobe, where strict anti-poaching policies allow them to thrive. Find out more in: Quartz Africa 

WWF-Zimbabwe and Minister of Environment Commit to Wetlands protection

February 2 remains a day devoted to calling attention to the plight of wetlands, and this year, World Wetlands Day highlighted them as a critical source of freshwater at a time when that commodity is becoming ever more scarce.  The day also saw the launch of WWF of Inland Fisheries Alliance by WWF and partner conservation organizations.  Take a moment to find out more about the Wetlands Webinar by WWF Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Environment


Lamu Women spearhead Mangrove conservation efforts

As at January 31, women's groups had planted and restored over 200,000 acres of mangrove trees across the region. Mangroves are an integral part of the ecosystem in Lamu and other coastal counties as they provide habitats and ample breeding grounds for fish. The Star


Canon brokers partnerships to support Wildlife Conservation in Africa 

Canon Central and North Africa joined forces with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to launch the ‘Twendini Porini Na Canon campaign to promote Canon products and reward its customers; the campaign is aimed at highlighting the country’s national parks and conservation efforts, and to usImagee the power of visual storytelling to boost eco-tourism. Other Canon programmes include the Miraisha Programme (http://bit.ly/3oF9akP) and Ambassadors Programme (https://bit.ly/3axmTp0) - to advance and promote job opportunities and future livelihoods in Africa by sharing skillsets and knowledge for photographers, videographers and filmmakers. Africa-newsroom.com 
 


Test Drilling for Oil and Gas begins in Namibia’s Okavango region

The Okavango Delta, a protected wetland that provides crucial habitat for wildlife, lies about 160 miles downstream of a site in a riverbed where ReconAfrica began test drilling for oil and gas on January 11. National Geographic.


Why Sub-Saharan Africa’s teeming Cities need Electric Vehicles

As the developed world focuses on the electrification of transportation, Sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind. However, there is hope. Currently, more than 93 percent of Kenya’s electricity demand was met by renewable energy and the country has secured funding to electrify its new rail system. The Financial Times shows what it means if Sub-saharan Africa cities pivoted to electric vehicles. Financial Times.
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Ethiopia's Tourism Sector to Benefit from the Country's first travel and leisure platform

The platform, which will be developed as a prototype in the coming months, will be a modern and user-friendly interface for travelers to access more tourist destinations, book accommodations easier, feel safer by using a trusted app that tracks information, and offer packages to promote increased travel across the country while attracting greater foreign currency to boost the economy.  Allafrica.com


How Senegal is staying ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic

Senegal is re-entering a state of emergency to combat the pandemic's second wave. Early action and clear measures were vital during the first. The first phase of vaccination will be completed by June this year. World Economic Forum  


BMW Group, Tetra Pak and Schüco International Concerned About Sourcing Aluminium from Ghana’s Irreplaceable Atewa Forest

BMW Group, Tetra Pak, and Schüco International—have signaled concern over the use of bauxite sourced from Ghana’s Atewa Forest for aluminum if mining has catastrophic and irreversible effects on the people and wildlife that depend on the forest. More than 5 million Ghanaians depend on Atewa Forest as their source of clean drinking water. WWF


GLOBAL
Dasgupta Report launched -making the economic case for nature. 

Eminent economist Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta has led a review into how the world's financial systems have failed nature, and what we can do about it. The Dasgupta Review concludes clearly that nature’s services are essential to functioning societies. In welcoming the report, WWF is urging governments to take the following 5 urgent and transformative actions to reverse nature loss. WWF
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Sea Levels Are Rising Faster Than Most Pessimistic Forecasts

New research indicates economies have to emit even less carbon than budgeted to keep oceans from rising. The revised estimates published this Tuesday in Ocean Science impact the two-fifths of the Earth’s population who live near coastlines. Insured property worth trillions of dollars could face even greater danger from floods, superstorms and tidal surges. Bloomberg
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Eurosystem agrees on common stance for Climate Change-related Sustainable Investments in Non-monetary Policy Portfolios

The Eurosystem central banks – the 19 national central banks of the euro area countries and the European Central Bank (ECB) – have defined a common stance for applying sustainable and responsible investment principles in the euro-denominated non-monetary policy portfolios that they each manage under their own responsibility. ecb.europa.eu
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Former U.S. Climate Leaders Press Biden on Amazon Deforestation

A bipartisan coalition of seven former cabinet secretaries and chief climate change negotiators is urging Mr. Biden to call a White House summit to press corporate leaders to help finance at least one billion tons of greenhouse gas reductions in the Amazon by 2025. They also called on Mr. Biden to expand “debt-for-nature” swaps and to negotiate such agreements with governments in the Amazon region. New York Times  
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Shell loses Dutch case over Nigeria oil spills

Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered to pay damages to farmers after an appeals court in The Hague found the energy major’s Nigerian subsidiary liable for oil spills in the Niger Delta more than a decade ago. Financial Times 
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Deep Dive: Breaking Down the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Market's New Blueprint
Last week, the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, led by former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, published a detailed 138-page blueprint for ratcheting up the size of voluntary carbon markets without sacrificing quality. (Disclosure: We were members of the consultation group). Ecosystemmarketplace.com 


Denmark strikes deal on £25bn Artificial Wind Energy Island

Denmark’s government has agreed to take a majority stake in a £25bn artificial “energy island”, which is to be built 50 miles (80km) offshore, in the middle of the North Sea. Theguardian.com
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Cop26 Dream Team: The people setting the Climate agenda on seven key issues

From Denmark’s Dan Jørgensen to Malawi’s Nancy Tembo, here are the leaders to watch ahead of UN climate talks in Glasgow, UK. Climate Change News 
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First-ever Map  shows Caribbean Coral Reef  

A new map visualizes, for the first time, exactly what’s underwater in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the rest of the Caribbean are among the most biodiverse places on the planet. They’re also disappearing, threatened by everything from climate change to overfishing.—so local governments can better protect it. Fast Company 
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 Latest reports suggest that insured property worth trillions of dollars could face even greater danger from floods, superstorms, and tidal surges due to climate change. Bloomberg
WHAT WE ARE READING 

Inland fisheries: Better management can’t wait. Inland Fisheries Alliance  

Blue carbon: the climate change solution you’ve probably never heard of. Thenarwhal.ca

Food & Agriculture Tracker examines the exposure of funds to sustainability shocks. Planet-tracker.org 

Water Warning: The Looming Threat of the World’s Aging DamsYale Environment 360  
Why investing in nature is key to climate mitigation | McKinseyMckinsey.com 

Extinction: 'Time is running out' to save sharks and rays. BBC 

The truth about Africa’s “debt problem” with ChinaQuartz Africa 

Floating solar panels on 1% of reservoirs ‘could double’ Africa’s hydropower capacity. Carbonbrief.org 

Explore this year's 10 New Insights in Climate Science. Futureearth.org 

Quantifying the evidence of nature's value for investments: A case study with CDC Group. Earth Securities  

Creating the business case for a municipal finance fund that invests in mangroves to help cities adapt to climate change. Earth Securities  

These are the key African elections to watch in 2021Quartz Africa 


AUDIO OF THE WEEK

The Climate Question: Will Africa Really Leapfrog to Renewables?

Every other continent has electrified off the back of fossil fuels but Africa, on the face of it, has the opportunity to do it differently. Listen to Damilola Ogunbiyi who ran the Lagos power authority before taking over efforts to electrify Nigeria’s rural communities. BBC 
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GRAPHIC OF THE WEEK
This week's graphic highlights how Africa’s diversified economies are set to rebound quicker than its extractive giants. Quartz Africa   

UPCOMING EVENTS 

WWF Event: The Dasgupta Review: Transforming the global economy. 25 February 2021. Register here: https://bit.ly/2YcUu1F

United Nations University. International Online Conference on the implications of COVID-19 in Africa. 11-12 Feb.  Register here: https://go.unu.edu/m6jrh 

CFS47 Side EventTransforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature, and Climate. 8 February 2021. Register here

20th Economic Forum on Africa. 22 February 2021. Register here.

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Africa Weekly Digest  by WWF Regional Office for Africa 

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