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17 May 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to bring you yet again a double issue of the Africa Weekly Digest covering news, stories, and publications that excited us in the past two weeks. 

Top stories in this edition include the new Ecoregion snapshots$31 Billion for Africa's Food and Agriculture Industry20 million hectares of forest regrowth; World Food Prize; celebrating World Migratory Bird Day and many more.

Happy reading and looking forward to your feedback.

Happy reading and looking forward to your feedback.

This newsletter is made in Africa and globally curious!

Announcing the release of Ecoregion Snapshots

RESOLVE and One Earth are pleased to announce the release of Ecoregion Snapshots, a concise guide to the terrestrial ecoregions of the world. Now freely available on One Earth organized into the Bioregions 2020 framework, these Ecoregion Snapshots become the “travel brochures” that highlight the most outstanding features of each place and why these natural treasures should be conserved.


Kenya conducts its first-ever National Wildlife Census 

The $2.3 million conservation project aims to improve knowledge about wildlife population distribution and sizes, identify threats to the animals, and develop conservation strategies to protect them. While Kenya’s most vulnerable species such as elephants and rhinos, are counted regularly, the project will be the first systematic counting of other rare animals across the country. Reuters 

Zimbabwe to reintroduce Rhinos to its Parks in 30 years 

Zimbabwe plans to reintroduce rhinos to its wildlife parks for the first time in 30 years. Gonarezhou Park, the country’s second-largest wildlife park and part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park—a transnational nature reserve between South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park, and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou—is set to be home to an undisclosed number of reintroduced rhinos. After a sharp decline in Zimbabwe’s rhino population due to poaching, the country maintains the continent’s fourth-largest population of rhinos, at about 1,000 rhinos.

South Africa pulls the plug on controversial Captive Lion Industry

There are between 8,000 and 12,000 lions being held in captive facilities, many of which have historically offered canned hunting, lion petting and lion walking experiences. The South African government has made a critical decision to ban captive lion facilities in South Africa, and to halt the commercial use of captive lions and their derivatives, according to a new report. 

World Bank signs $500 million infrastructure project for Congo's capital.

The World Bank on Wednesday signed a $500 million infrastructure project with Democratic Republic of Congo to improve roads, mitigate flood risks, fight erosion and develop public spaces across the capital Kinshasa. Kinshasa is the largest French-speaking city in the world with a population of just over 17 million. Reuters 

African country ranked fourth on the world’s 2021 Climate Change Performance Index ranking after Sweden, the UK, and Denmark. 

Decarbonization is the future of Africa and Europe at the same time, under different, but complementary perspectives. Protecting the planet is ultimately everyone’s responsibility. Not far from Europe is Morocco, an African country ranked fourth on the world’s 2021 Climate Change Performance Index ranking after Sweden, the UK and

African Cities leading the way to a green future

REN21’s Renewables in Cities: 2021 Global Status Report observes that rapidly growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly recognizing how renewables can help fight energy poverty and tackle climate change. Here is what six African cities are doing to transition to renewables, as outlined in the report.
Kenya: When Elephant and Advocates fight over the Rift Valley

Elephant herds in the Amboseli Game Reserve in southwestern Kenya are in trouble with the KiliAvo farm. The 72-hectare avocado monoculture plantation near the park prevents the pachyderms from moving to other food sources. The situation may anger locals, but the farm's promoters are not giving up. Afrik21

Africa’s $31 Billion Farm Funding Gap in Focus for CDC Debt Deal.

CDC Group, the U.K. government’s development investment arm, is taking a step to help bridge what it estimates is a funding gap of as much as $31 billion that Africa’s agriculture and food industry faces each year. The 73-year-old institution is channeling $100 million to small-holder African farmers through export and trading company ETG, and is seeking other partners to help it deploy more capital to the sector. Bloomberg 

Kenyan Environmental Tribunal protects open Rangeland

KiliAvo Fresh Ltd seeks to establish a water-intensive commercial farm that would obstruct wildlife corridor adjacent to Amboseli National Park. Majority of landowners of the former Kimana Tikondo Group Ranch area working together to preserve free movement of wildlife and livestock in this dryland ecosystem. 

How Mangrove forests helped stall Environmental Crime. 

The majestic mangrove forests of Kenya's east coast have helped to bring levels of poaching and logging down, while taking large quantities of carbon out of the air.BBC  

President Biden's Africa Policy

Joe Biden’s administration has committed to transforming America’s relationships across the globe. This period of reform presents the opportunity for a long-overdue reimagination of America’s policy in Sub-Saharan Africa. London School of Economics
How Spotify’s Competition in Africa Won the Hearts of Listeners.

Audiomack Inc. won the hearts of many Africans by allowing those without a premium subscription to download songs and listen offline. The feature lets customers use minimal wireless data, a big draw as mobile signals on the continent are often patchier, and costlier, than in Europe or USA. Bloomberg 

Africa can’t stay out of the Space race.

Temidayo Oniosun, who heads the Nigerian analytic and consulting company Space in Africa, said 12 African countries already had space programmes, and a further eight were busy establishing them. The African Union will soon launch its long-envisaged continental space programme, which will pool member states’ resources, he told a webinar at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on 30 April.

Africa’s fashion industry has its first dedicated investment company

Sub-Saharan Africa’s apparel, textile, and footwear market is estimated to be worth $31 billion, and its fashions are often an inspiration for international designers. But many of its entrepreneurs operate in the informal sector. A lack of wide access to capital, low production capacities, and small distribution networks limit the industry’s growth potential.
Goodwell Investments launches new $60m fund to support high-growth African SMEs

Impact investment firm Goodwell Investments has launched a new EUR50 million (US$60 million) fund that will channel capital from private investors, family offices, and foundations to fast-growing, scalable small and medium-sized companies.


World Food Prize 2021 Winner Unlocks Benefits of Fish

Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted has been named the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate. Often referred to as the Nobel Prize for food research,  Dr. Thilsted is the first woman of Asian heritage to receive the award. Her work focuses on unlocking the benefits of fish for diets, health and livelihoods.

Bark-dwelling Methanotrophic Bacteria decrease Methane emissions from trees.

A world-first discovery published in Nature Communications found unique methane-eating communities of bacteria living within the bark of a common Australian tree species: paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). These microbial communities were abundant, thriving, and mitigated about one-third of the substantial methane emissions from paperbark that would have otherwise ended up in the atmosphere. Nature

Forests the Size of France Have Regrown in the Last 20 Years, New Research Shows.

Nearly 59 million hectares of forests—an area larger than mainland France— have regrown since 2000, according to a new analysis published today by Trillion Trees, a joint venture between World Wildlife Fund (WWF), BirdLife International and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)  WWF

Standard Tool to compare Species conservation efforts launched 

The tool—called the Species Threat Abatement and Restoration, or STAR, metric—determines how much a given action can help reduce a species’ extinction risks. 

World Leaders call for a  Nature-Positive World: The Global Goal for Nature

Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), leading conservation and business organizations are urging leaders to build a Nature Positive world. In a new paper, representatives from Global Environment Facility, WWF, Business for Nature, World Resources Institute and several other organizations make the case for "a clear and overarching Nature-Positive Global Goal For Nature". Read more here 

Amazon raises $1 billion sustainable bond for climate, social causes Inc (AMZN.O) issued its first sustainability bond on Monday, raising $1 billion to invest in renewable energy, clean transport, greener buildings and affordable housing.

Ravaged by Fishing — An Oceanic Shark Emergency

Two iconic shark species — oceanic whitetip and scalloped hammerhead — as well as many other sharks and rays inhabiting the open ocean are being pushed toward extinction. Main threat? Overfishing. How did we get here and what can be done to save them? WWF 

Scientists have taught Bees to smell the Coronavirus. They can identify a case within seconds.

Scientists in the Netherlands have trained bees to identify COVID-19 through their sense of smell, according to a press release from Wageningen University. The research was conducted on more than 150 bees in Wageningen University's bio-veterinary research laboratory. 

G7 should invest $1 trillion a year for sustainable COVID recovery

G7 countries should invest $10 trillion to stoke an investment-driven recovery that puts COVID-19 vaccines in arms and triggers a sweeping energy transformation to slow climate change, according to a report requested by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

Forest the size of France regrown worldwide over 20 years

Forest the size of France regrown worldwide over 20 years, study finds. 
Nearly 59m hectares of forests have regrown since 2000, the research found, providing the potential to soak up and store 5.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions of the entire US. 

 DFC Announces First-Ever Chief Climate Officer and Deputy to Lead Agency Efforts to Tackle the Climate Crisis

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today announced the agency’s first-ever dedicated senior officials focused on climate. Specifically, DFC has appointed Jake Levine as Chief Climate Officer (CCO) and Aparna Shrivastava as Deputy Chief Climate Officer. 

Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Call on Big Pharma CEOs to Combat Vaccine Equity Crisis

Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have penned a powerful open letter to the CEOs of five of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on them to urgently share COVID-19 vaccines with the world’s poorest countries.

Renewed IKEA and WWF partnership to accelerate action to enhance biodiversity

For nearly 20 years WWF and Inter IKEA Group have partnered to drive positive environmental impact within different industries, and today a renewed term of partnership until 2025 is announced.  IKEA

G7: Rich states want to send 40m more girls to school

The G7 group of nations is to agree on a new target of sending 40 million more girls from low and middle income countries to school within five years. Foreign ministers will use a London summit to commit to helping women in developing countries with a $15bn (£10.8bn) two-year package of support. BBC

Make nature-related financial disclosures mandatory, says Hank Paulson

Financial institutions should be required to report the impact on nature of their lending and investments as part of a joint public-private drive to put a value on nature, according to Henry Paulson. 

An Arctic Ocean Network of Priority Areas for Conservation

The WWF Arctic Programme is very excited to share the launch of our ArcNet Guide today. ArcNet – An Arctic Ocean Network of Priority Areas for Conservation – is a network of priority areas for marine conservation that spans the entire Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas.  WWF 

Global shortage of 900,000 Midwives threatens women’s lives and health, new report shows

The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated these problems, with the health needs of women and newborns overshadowed by the pandemic response and midwives being deployed to other health services. UNFPA


Migratory Bird Day

While migration is perceived as an adaptive mechanism for survival, the sheer energy, timing and the remarkable sense of direction is amazing. Birds are perhaps the most fantastic among nature’s creation that champion this feat. But it is also a dangerous part of the bird’s life cycle. Bad weather, storms, forest fires and collision with man-made objects like power lines and wind turbines are some of the threats that confront the migratory birds every season. 

From Waterways to Flyways International Cooperation Matters. WWF 

Poor connections: Urgent action needed to strengthen Asian Flyways. WWF
Elephants have plenty of habitat if spared from the ivory trade, new research shows

Due to 2,000 years of human pressure, African elephants have suffered dramatic population declines, and their range has shrunk to just 17% of what it could be, say researchers. 

                                   What We Are Reading 

Africa Reacts to Biden’s First 100 Days in Office. CSIS  
Covid-19 has exposed Africa’s dependence on vaccines from abroad. The Economist  
A people-powered proposal for a climate law in Greece.WWF 
This small change to farming could reduce agriculture’s climate impact by 30%. 
Expanding mobile connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. DFC  
Conflict and conservation. IUCN 
How the tourism industry can recover post pandemic. Financial times  
What’s the Deal With Liquid Chlorophyll? Vogue 

Graphics of The Week

 Africa's Renewable Energy Potential

In a recent article from the International Monetary Fund’s quarterly publication Finance and Development, researchers explore how scientific advances in renewable energy technology, its falling costs, and the continent’s geography can contribute to renewable energy becoming a prominent, affordable, and competitive source of electricity in Africa. Brookings


a map sowing where people will be most affected by rising sea levels


UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. Register here 

The Growing Public Sentiment and Demand for Action on Nature. Register here 

MAY 20-23, 2021. International Day of Biodiversity - Global Biodiversity Festival.

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Copyright © *| Africa Weekly Digest- 12 April 2021
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