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“Africa is rich in natural resources ranging from crude oil, natural gas, minerals, forests and wildlife. The continent holds a significant proportion of the world’s natural resources, both renewables and non-renewables. In order for Africa to reap the economic and social benefits inherent in this natural wealth, it is necessary to urgently address such issues as the proper management, economic and environmental impact of their exploitation.

In most African countries, natural capital accounts for between 30% and 50% of total wealth. Over 70% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa depend on forests and woodlands for their livelihoods. Land is an economic development asset as well as a socio-cultural resource. However, a significant share of these resources is used unsustainably while others are lost through illegal activities, meaning that the stream of benefits generated from these resources is being reduced over time. For instance, Africa loses an estimated USD 195 billion annually of its natural capital through illicit financial flows, illegal mining, illegal logging, illegal trade in wildlife, unregulated fishing, environmental degradation and loss among others. Despite the efforts taken to address them, these illegal activities continue, at times under the watch of the very systems put in place to curb them.

African states now acknowledge that natural capital could be the key to unlocking Africa’s potential and for pulling millions out of the poverty trap. This change in mindset is evident at national levels and in action through political processes such as the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). AMCEN recognizes that natural capital underpins the continent’s economy, affirming that using natural capital as a getaway to wealth creation and investments will allow for actions towards achievement of theUnited Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the AU Agenda 2063 through financial, economic, social and environmental contribution…”

Read on at: United Nations Environment Programme.