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African Ecological Futures


The African Ecological Futures report is based on the premise that African ecological futures can be fundamentally altered by economic development decisions made today. The report explores guiding principles for decisions and particular interventions by decision makers that may create the opportunity for more robust and resilient development.

Decision makers across Africa (and those outside it who have a stake in the continent's future) share the recognition that today, Africa is at a critical juncture.

The continent has experienced significant and unprecedented growth across a host of development indices. In the course of the next few decades, Africa will increasingly assert its role as a global economic player, while simultaneously lifting millions of citizens out of poverty. As Africa transforms itself, it has the potential to alter dramatically its own ecological character, i.e. to change the nature and extent of its natural capital. As expanding economic activity converges with sensitive ecosystems, we are likely to witness he emergence of several ecological frontiers - areas where the ecological foundation of Africa's growth could be chipped away or destroyed altogether by this development.

While celebrating Africa’s huge and diverse natural resource base, this report equally recognizes the continent’s rich ecosystems – and the role both play in economic development. It notes that the current development trajectories and choices made by African countries both individually and collectively will have direct impacts on people and nature. These impacts will touch not only on inclusivity but also on the sustainability of the natural resources and ecosystem services that anchor economic growth.

In order to better understand what these futures might be and how to manage their impacts, the report investigates key forces shaping Africa's today and tomorrow and draws a picture of how they come together across plausible scenarios to influence ecological futures. The report shares well examined perspectives of the pressures and drivers of Africa’s economic fortunes over the next 50 years. It explores guiding principles for decisions and particular interventions by decision makers that may create the opportunity for more robust and resilient development.

It is pertinent to consider what Africa’s economic development means for its ecological systems. Development planners must take these implications into account to ensure sustainable outcomes. This report has systematically treated this very fluid and dynamic subject by considering and analyzing critical drivers of various economic objectives in key development sectors that will steer Africa’s progress in the next 50 years and beyond.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and WWF are fundamentally committed to nurturing an environment in which African governments and citizens develop symbiotic relationships with their natural resource base, ecosystems and supporting institutions. Building Africa in a sustainable manner lies at the heart of both the AfDB and WWF mission statements. The AfDB works to spur sustainable economic development and social progress and contribute to poverty reduction in the continent. WWF works to stop the degradation of Africa's environment and help build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The common objectives have led to a collaborative project aimed at understanding the ways in which emerging African ecological scenarios will influence the quality of development on the continent.

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