The Conservation Continent: Positioning Africa for a Post-Covid Lifestyle Shift
Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
Former Prime Minister of Ethopia
Chair, Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company
In the first collaboration between Johannesburg-based think-tank, The Brenthurst Foundation, and former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn's Foundation, The Hailemariam and Roman Foundation, Dr Greg Mills, Hailemariam Desalegn and Mike du Toit argue that the answers to a prosperous, healthy and sustainable Africa post-covid lie in protecting biodiversity.
Covid-19 is likely to amplify Africa's development challenges and accelerate the pace at which government will have to act and deliver to citizens. The immediate challenge for African leaders is to mitigate the worst effects of the crisis and to reposition the continent beyond Covid-19. As African leadership thinks about the longer-term imperative of diversification and transformation, they might have opportunities few of their counterparts elsewhere possess in allocating a greater share of land to conservancies, providing a new avenue for tourist development.
A big policy bet on the environment today could pay unimaginable dividends, and quickly. Furthermore, protecting biodiversity goes beyond direct income from tourism and travel; not acting means pressures on the natural world will continue to pose a threat to clean quality and safe drinking water sources, the survival of wildlife, the prosperity of remote communities, nature's ability to protect us from future natural disasters, including pandemics, and the intensifying impacts of a changing climate - the economic challenges we face today will pale in comparison.