The future of African land-use will be decided over the coming decades. The continent will be responsible for half of the world’s population growth by 2050 and, like no other place on the planet, the dual pressures of local population increases and global material demand will be brought to bear on its unique but vulnerable resource base.
Blessed with globally-important forests and grasslands, life-sustaining freshwater systems and the world’s most significant remaining megafauna populations, this extraordinary wealth of natural assets has the potential to form a strong and regenerative economic foundation – but only if the true value of these assets can be protected, harnessed and restored.
Continued consumptive land utilisation in Africa – uncontrolled mining, logging, and intensive agriculture – will be entirely unable to cope with the needs of the continent. Instead, a new trajectory of economic growth must be defined – one that does not relentlessly erode the very natural asset foundations on which it depends, but one that uses the protection and guardianship of these resources to deliver a new era of job creation, empowerment and green growth.
To deliver this vision, scale of intervention is vital – both from the perspective of ecological integrity and functioning, and in terms of financial capital required. SYSTEMIQ is fortunate to be working in support of Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), who lead one of the largest terrestrial conservation movements on the planet, helping to facilitate nearly 100 million Hectares of transfrontier protected areas. Together, we are working to prove that sustainable economic models cannot only work on the continent, but can deliver vastly superior social, economic and environmental results compared to the present day.
SYSTEMIQ will work jointly with PPF to identify leading investible opportunities in this space, help to nurture and ‘incubate’ these, and ensure that southern Africa’s critically under-funded natural systems receive the vital financial sustenance they require. By starting with a focus on the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (“KaZa”) and specifically at two critical sites in Zambia – a country where rates of deforestation and biodiversity loss are demonstrated as starkly as anywhere – we are ensuring we learn by doing, and that by proving interventions in a focused geographic area we can apply these models across the vast areas of the continent where action is so urgently needed.