Ten African countries have signed up to a project that aims to restore 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 – an area larger than Nigeria. The African Forest Landscape Initiative (AFR100) was formally launched on 6 December at the COP21 climate summit in Paris.
Initially, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda will contribute more than 30 million hectares of degraded land. Later it is hoped to broaden the project, which has the backing of the African Union, to include more countries and more land.
$1.6 billion has been earmarked to pay for the restoration, with one billion dollars coming from the World Bank and the rest from a group of private sector “impact” investors. Ten organisations are providing technical assistance, including the German government and the World Resources Institute.
Project backers say that restoring African forest landscapes will bring benefits such as reduced desertification, better food security through improved soil and water resources, greater biodiversity and increased capacity to resist global warming. The initiative is seen as a way in which African countries can deliver on existing climate change commitments and provide economic opportunities.