Rwanda Express (Kigali)

26 June 2012

Rwanda: AFDB and WWF Ally Leaders to Invest in Africa's Natural Capital

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have released a joint report on the state of environment in Africa, and are calling world leaders to invest in Africa's natural capital.

The report is intended to catalyze decision-makers to invest in Africa's sustainable development and is being presented at Rio+20, at an event organized by the AfDB and WWF and hosted by the Senegalese government.

As leaders gathered in Brazil this week, WWF and AfDB are encouraging leaders in both the public and private sectors to invest in Africa's natural capital. "Africa must rally around this objective, not just because donors demand it, but because it's our responsibility to protect our ecosystems," says the report.

AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka commented: "We must strengthen cooperation between leaders, across continents, who share a common interest in fostering economic transformation. Let's make it a reality, together."

While the report underlines some serious trends, it also offers examples of initiatives across Africa, where natural capital is being preserved while social and economic development benefits rural populations.

For example, the lake Naivasha region produces 70 percent of Kenya's cut flower exports and 20 percent of its vegetable exports, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the national economy.

Through a payment for environment services scheme, the horticultural industry pays upstream farmers to preserve the water resources on which the horticultural industry depends.

This scheme not only helps to preserve valuable freshwater ecosystems, but also benefits small-scale farmers by increasing their yields and income, and ensures a clean, sustainable water supply for commercial farms.

Another example of how smart policy and investment can make a difference is the South African Renewable Initiative. The Initiative, established to fulfill South Africa's Integrated Resource Plan, is channeling international public finance into the development and distribution of renewable energy.

South Africa plans to add 19 GW of renewable energy to the national grid by 2030--going from nil to 14 percent renewable in its total energy mix in two decades. Not only will South Africans have increased access to energy, this scheme will also boost green technologies and jobs in the region. Background:

With a recent tripling of its capitalization to USD 100 billion, the AfDB is the most important multilateral institution financing development in Africa.

As the continent faces rapid economic and population growth, and growing resource and climate pressures, the AfDB plays an essential role in ensuring sustainable and equitable development.

WWF is the world's largest environmental non-governmental organization and has been active in Africa since its foundation more than 50 years ago. WWF works together with governments, businesses and local communities to deliver conservation and sustainable development worldwide.

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