Africa is at a crossroads. The continent is currently home to a billion people, most of whom are directly dependent on local ecosystems for their survival. Yet as global demand for food, water and energy continue to surge, much of the pressure to provide these resources rests on Africa, which holds more than half of the planet’s available arable land.
On top of existing challenges, Africa is poised to triple its population by the end of this century. Yet the continent’s rich natural resources present tremendous opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation.
In order to stimulate dialogue on these important issues, next week the Government of Botswana and CI are convening the first-ever Summit for Sustainability in Africa in Gaborone, Botswana. The Summit will bring together top African officials — including heads of state from Botswana, Rwanda, Liberia and Namibia and representatives from at least six other African countries — with global leaders from the public and private sector. Working together, these forward-thinking individuals have the power to shape the future of economic development in Africa — and make sure it’s on a sustainable course.
On May 24-25, participants will hold a collaborative discussion on how they can secure the future of their nations through development plans that properly value and account for their considerable “natural capital” — the biological resources and ecosystems that sustain not only human lives, but a healthy global economy.
On the eve of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (often known as Rio+20) next month, the Summit’s goal is to demonstrate that workable models of development already are in practice on the African continent — and that these models can be replicated across the globe.
To learn more about the need for and goals of the Summit, watch this brief interview with Frank Hawkins, senior vice president of CI’s Africa & Madagascar program, who has led CI’s efforts to make this event a success.
Molly Bergen is managing editor on CI’s communications team.