News / Africa

Report: Africa's 'Ecological Footprint' Increasing

Children walking near the forest landscape restoration nursery in Kasese District, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. (AfDB)Children walking near the forest landscape restoration nursery in Kasese District, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. (AfDB)
x
Children walking near the forest landscape restoration nursery in Kasese District, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. (AfDB)
Children walking near the forest landscape restoration nursery in Kasese District, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. (AfDB)
Joe DeCapua
Africa’s ecological footprint is getting bigger. The continent’s growing population is placing greater demand on its natural resources. A new report calls on African nations to adopt a more sustainable approach to development to ensure long term economic growth.
De Capua report on Africas ecological footprint
De Capua report on Africas ecological footprinti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


The Africa Ecological Footprint Report is a joint effort by the African Development Bank and the World Wide Fund for Nature. It’s being released in advance of the Rio+20 Summit – formally known as the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development.

Simon Mizrahi, the bank’s director for Quality Assurance and Results, said, “Africa’s footprint is very small in comparison to other parts of the world, but certainly the kind of resources demands that we’re making on these resources in Africa exceeds the planet’s ability to regenerate them. So I think that’s a very important finding that we need to bring to light.”

Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. WWF has helped 574 farmers in the region plant 700,000 trees in its 5-year programme to replenish the bare hills.Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. WWF has helped 574 farmers in the region plant 700,000 trees in its 5-year programme to replenish the bare hills.
x
Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. WWF has helped 574 farmers in the region plant 700,000 trees in its 5-year programme to replenish the bare hills.
Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. WWF has helped 574 farmers in the region plant 700,000 trees in its 5-year programme to replenish the bare hills.

The report weighs the health of the continent’s ecosystems. Mizrahi says the aim is to raise awareness about greener development as resource consumption grows.

“That reflects two things. First the size of the African population is increasing quite considerably and the other reason, which is good news, is that there’s an increasing size of the middle classes in Africa with stronger consumer power. So patterns of consumption and levels of consumption are changing quite considerably across Africa,” he said.

Choices to be made

He said that going green will enhance economic growth, but adds Africans need to be convinced.

“There is a sense in many African countries and many African people that transitioning to a green economy will be putting brakes on Africa’s prosperity. And they are very rightly are concerned about that. But I think what we’re arguing is that is not necessarily the case. What we can be doing is helping African economies deal with climate change; deal with the consequences of increasing pressure on bio-capacity differently.” He said.

The report said Africa’s ecological footprint is expected to double by 2040 if no action is taken. But the continent has choices available.

“There are smarter ways of producing energy than relying on fossil fuels, in particular, in Africa where we have a tremendous potential for generating electricity through solar energy and through hydroelectric plants. And what we do at the African Development Bank is provide solutions to African countries so that they can, if they wish, adopt a smarter development trajectory, a smarter development path,” said Mizrahi.

Another opportunity to go green is building and upgrading Africa’s infrastructure, including roads, rail and communications.

“In mobile telephony,” he said, “there is an opportunity here to move directly to smarter technologies, smarter ways of growing African economies.”

He added that developed nations would themselves benefit by assisting African countries achieve these goals because going green helps the entire planet.

Wildlife targeted

The rapid rise in consumer consumption is not the only “alarming trend” mentioned in the report. It also warned of a 40 percent decline in Africa’s biodiversity in the last 40 years. Information from the World Wide Fund for Nature showed a fragile, but important link between wildlife and the economy.

“First of all the wildlife does generate revenues for African economies. And one of the numbers that is quoted in the report that I find particularly interesting is that, for example, if you look at mountain gorillas – each mountain gorilla, not the population, but each mountain gorilla – generates about one million dollars per year in tourist revenues for the Ugandan economy,” he said.

But wildlife is in danger. Several months ago, poachers killed about 300 elephants in Cameroon and Central African Republic. Rhinos are also being slaughtered.

“Rhino poaching just in South Africa has increase by 3,000 percent between 2001 and 2007. This needs to be seen as organized criminal networks that create risks and put in jeopardy wildlife in many countries, not only in South Africa,” said Mizrahi.

The African Development Bank official said the Rio+20 Summit could help spur a “green infrastructure for Africa’s ecological security.”

“I think it would be a tremendous disappointment for everybody, including the African Development Bank, if we were to walk away from this great opportunity with no tangible solutions in hand. We do hope that we will see that Rio will be a resounding success,” he said.

The Rio+20 Summit will be held from June 20th to the 22nd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid