AFRICA: Initiative to enable the sustainable management of ecosystems in 6 countries

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AFRICA: Initiative to enable the sustainable management of ecosystems in 6 countries © pratan ounpitipong/Shutterstock

Faced with the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Africa, a new African Development Bank (AfDB) mechanism called "Gonat" should enable the sustainable management of ecosystems and their climate resilience.

The Governing Natural Resource Outflows for Economic Resilience in Fragile and Transitional African Countries (GONAT) project has been launched. The initiative is led by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through its African Natural Resource Management and Investment Centre (ANRC). Between 2023 and 2025, GONAT will be implemented in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Chad and Zimbabwe.

In concrete terms, it will promote the sustainable management of ecosystems, particularly forests, in these countries, which are facing deforestation coupled with global warming. “Africa is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world (the Congo Basin, editor’s note). In most African countries, natural capital represents between 35% and 50% of total wealth,” explains Vanessa Ushie.

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According to the ANRC’s interim director, this potential could generate up to 24 billion dollars annually for the continent, particularly through the development of agro-ecology and sustainable fishing. Thus, GONAT will eventually allow the financing of eco-responsible governance in the biodiversity sector, the creation of green jobs for young people, especially in rural areas, as well as the rehabilitation of natural sites degraded by human action or meteorological phenomena.

GONAT is also in line with the AfDB’s policy to combat food insecurity. Indeed, the poor management of natural resources sometimes undermines the livelihoods of populations, particularly in West Africa. This is the case in Liberia which is rich in in iron ore, diamonds and biodiversity. The financial institution based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is supporting the Liberian government in the implementation of its Emergency Food Production Programme. It will help strengthen agricultural productivity in the capital Monrovia through the improvement of climate information systems and the preservation of biodiversity.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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