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Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the second edition of our Africa Weekly Digest - A round-up of the stories that captured our attention this past week. 

In this edition, we bring you a mix of stories from WWF and the latest news from across the continent. We look forward to your feedback. Please let us know if you enjoy this digest and most importantly how we can make it better.

Happy reading!

 

1. Rare Images of the Most Endangered Gorilla subspecies are spotted on camera for the first time: Seven “Cross River gorillas” including infants of varying ages were seen in the first known camera-trap images of the species taken in the Mbe mountains in south-east Nigeria by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The sighting suggests their numbers could be recovering after decades of persecution, conservationists in Nigeria have said. In total, there are only about 300 individuals found in an isolated region along the Nigeria/Cameroon border. (The Guardian).

2. From Conservation agriculture in Zambia; A Trillion Trees for Climate in Tanzania; to Community-led monitoring of SDGs in DRC, the WWF Nature in the Global Goals 2020  publication launched this past week tells us that working simultaneously and coherently from the grassroots to the global level, will help us shift towards a balanced relationship with nature. ( WWF)  

3. The Staggering Value of Africa’s Forests and how to save them:  A recent comprehensive analysis conducted by BCG estimates the total value of the world’s forests at US $150 trillion! Tropical forests, heavily concentrated in Africa and South America account for stunning three-quarters of that value. First, they are the largest forest biome by area (58% of total forest area); second, they hold a large share of primary forests that have the highest carbon density  & third, they have higher tree biomass than any other biomes. The study also found that the largest share of global social value comes from tropical forests in Africa and Asia, where large numbers of people live in and rely on the forest for their livelihood. Read more about how we can save there here: (BCG)

4. New Climate Predictions released this week show Africa will continue to experience Climate change including wetter conditions across the Sahel and Central Africa, and drier conditions in Southern Africa (WMO). However, there has also been recent notable progress in Climate Action including a New African Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling based in Kigali  (UNEP); and Uganda became the first African country to submit REDD+ results to the UNFCCC (FAO).  As more African countries work towards a green and just recovery post #COVID19, WWF’s newly released  NDC checklist will provide useful guidance in evaluating countries’ climate pledges. (WWF )

5. Google and Telkom Kenya launched 35 balloon-powered internet services to provide 4G LTE service spanning 50,000 square kilometers across central and western Kenya (CNN). The initiative is important and comes at a time when a new report by the International Telecommunications Union ( ITU) revealed that African mobile users pay nearly three times the global average for voice calls and internet. While mobile penetration has seen Africa become the global hub of mobile money innovation over the past decade, many countries are still paying three times more than users in other regions relative to average income. African governments need to implement fair rules for market entry and incentives to encourage new competitors in the telecommunication sector. (Quartz Africa).

6. IUCN has launched the Regional action plan for the conservation of western chimpanzees (IUCN)  in time for the commemoration of  World Chimpanzee Day on 14th July, and as the latest edition of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released this week concluded that over half of all primate species in Africa are under threat. (IUCN

 7. A New Report on  “Preventing the Next Pandemic”  by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Livestock Research Institute this past released this past week on World Zoonoses Day concludes that unless countries take dramatic steps to curb zoonotic contagions, global outbreaks like COVID-19 will become more common. (UNEP) . However, there is hope that the soon to be released  “WILDMEAT”  database could help provide early warnings about pandemics. The database, a collaboration between CIFOR, USAID & USFWS will be used to identify areas where there are intensive use and trade of “high risk” species (i.e. bats, primates, pangolins), and, in conjunction with other global data layers (such as forest loss, agricultural intensification, and human population density) to analyze and predict where ‘hotspots’ for spill-over risk might occur (CIFOR). 

 8. IMF Policy Response Tracker is a useful source of information on how  African Governments (and others) are responding to COVID-19. The tracker summarizes the key economic responses governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last updated July 10, 2020.( IMF Response Tracker).

9. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 that will be unveiled on Monday 13th July indicates that hunger is on the rise in almost all African subregions, and the prevalence of undernourishment is very high, at almost 20 percent. Policies and investments aimed at reducing inequality, addressing the gender gap, ensuring everyone enjoys the same opportunities to fulfill their potential are key in defeating hunger and malnutrition. (FAO)

10. World Chocolate Day was celebrated this week on July 07. Did you know that 70 percent of the chocolate we love is produced by Africa farmers? Find out more in this photo essay about Africa's cocoa and in another related WWF publication. 

Quote of the week

“The African continent is not just about the history of slavery. It’s about young people who grew up and became doctors, who became professionals in their own careers....… If we don’t address the issue of racial justice, we won’t be able to get climate justice”.
Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan Climate Activist interviewed by Angelina Jolie. (TIME Magazine )
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