Africa is endowed with abundant natural wealth, from its land to its water and its extraordinary biodiversity. In recent years, rapidly growing population, dietary changes, rising income, high demand for commodities, and urbanization in the developing world have led to a surge in international demand for Africa’s resources. The endowment of Africa abundant natural wealth towards green growth
This situation is likely to continue, with international demand for natural resources projected to triple by 2050. Whereas this resource wealth represents an extraordinary opportunity for Africa to reducing poverty and fighting hunger, it also puts the continent’s natural environment under increasing pressure.
In some instances, high demand, coupled with climate change, has also led to widespread environmental damages and losses: many African countries have already lost a significant quantity of their soils, contributing to reduced yields and food insecurity; and almost 200 million Africans now live on degraded land.
Desertification continues, with 37 percent of the continent at risk. If current trends were to continue, much of Africa’s natural capital could be squandered within a generation, leaving large parts of the continent still trapped in poverty. As a high proportion of Africans depend for their livelihoods on renewable resources like land, water, and fisheries, finding a more efficient, sustainable, and resilient growth pathway for Africa would make sound economic sense. Green growth will help ensure that the benefits of natural resource endowments are shared equitably across the continent, and with future generations.
Structural transformation of African economies can also help reduce dependence on natural resources and other commodities through greater diversification and more sophisticated value chains. For this reason, a number of African countries are working through national investment plans to move toward sustainable green growth—to manage their natural resources more efficiently, maximize development benefits, minimize vulnerabilities, and ensure that their natural wealth is preserved for future generations.
Many African countries now have the policy, as well as legal and institutional frameworks, required to improve environmental management, but most still need to develop the capacity for implementation and enforcement.