The Africa Center Newsroom

For Sub-Saharan Africa, 2015 is a turning point. The summits on sustainable development, financing and climate change are swinging the spotlight not only onto Africa’s needs to accelerate development and adapt to global warming, but also onto the region’s urgent energy crisis. 

But this crisis is also a moment of great opportunity, as we demonstrate in the Africa Progress Report 2015, Power People Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities. Demand for modern energy is set to surge, fuelled by economic growth, demographic change and urbanisation. As the costs of low-carbon energy fall, Africa could leapfrog into a new era of power generation. Utility reform, new technologies and new business models could be as transformative in energy as the mobile phone has been in telecommunications.

The Africa Progress Report 2015 explains the bold steps that leaders globally and in Africa must take to achieve this vision. Above all, the report shows that the global climate moment is also Africa’s moment – Africa’s moment to lead the world.

What: Launch of report on energy and climate change by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel (http://www.africaprogresspanel.org)

When: June 05, 2015

Where: World Economic Forum, Press Conference Room, Convention Center, Cape Town, South Africa.

While at the first Africa CSA Alliance Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mama Kena Kgoroeadira, talks passionately about the need to focus attention on harnessing indigenous knowledge in best farming practices to overcome the challenge of climate change in Africa.

In the small village of Kanji, nestled on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Ludovick Meela is preparing to cut down the rest of the ageing coffee trees on his farm and replace them with vegetables.

"That is the best thing I could do to earn a living - coffee beans are no longer profitable as my harvests keep on falling," he rued. "I need fast-growing crops I can sell for a quick income."

It was a thirst for success that saw Tabitha Karanja put herself in the role of a David taking on a Goliath. The 50 year old is the founder and boss of the only large-scale brewery in Kenya actually owned by a Kenyan. Mrs. Karanja, one of only a handful of female brewery owners across Africa, set up the business - Keroche Breweries - with her husband back in 1997. Initially making a fortified wine, the company has since moved into spirits and, from 2008, making beer. Its lager brand Summit is now so popular in the country that earlier this year Keroche opened a $29m (£19m) expansion at its brewery in the town of Naivasha, 90km (56 miles) north west of the capital Nairobi. It will enable Keroche to increase its production ten-fold, from 10 million litres of beer per year to 110 million litres.

Populations of some of the world's largest wild animals are dwindling, raising the threat of an "empty landscape", say scientists. About 60% of giant herbivores - plant-eaters - including rhinos, elephants and gorillas, are at risk of extinction, according to research. Analysis of 74 herbivore species, published in Science Advances, blamed poaching and habitat loss. A previous study of large carnivores showed similar declines. Prof William Ripple, of Oregon State University, led the research looking at herbivores weighing over 100 kg, from the reindeer up to the African elephant. "This is the first time anyone has analyzed all of these species as a whole," he said. "The process of declining animals is causing an empty landscape in the forest, savannah, grasslands and desert."

On the green banks of the Niger River in downtown Bamako alongside heavily guarded foreign hotels, a group of urban farmers busily weed and water vegetables on some of Mali's prime real-estate. The "guerrilla growers" do not own the land they're cultivating but property rules aren't stopping them from trying to feed themselves in one of the world's poorest countries. In North America and Europe "guerrilla gardening" usually means an act of political protest against industrialised food production or a lack of green space but in Bamako and across Africa the growing trend for urban gardens is about survival. 

In a significant effort to scale up Kenya's fight against wildlife crime, public- and private-sector partners have joined forces to address dangerously high levels of poaching and trafficking. In a two-day workshop, representatives of government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector identified targeted, practical interventions to fortify wildlife laws and policies and enhance a range of community and law-enforcement initiatives. 

Climate change is one of the most relevant topics for analysis in the field of geopolitics today. In the second half of this century (between 2050 and 2070) the atmosphere's concentration of carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions (560 parts per million) might be twice the level reached during the industrial revolution (280 parts per million).

The global warming from this concentration is a phenomenon that will affect all aspects of daily life, including institutional and political systems.

Millions of pastoralists - from the Bedouin of North Africa to the Sherpa in Nepal and Navajo in North America - will benefit from a new online knowledge hub launched today by the United Nations that will help them raise their voices in international policy debates and share valuable information to strengthen their agricultural livelihoods. 

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