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© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

After decades of neglect, there is significant increasing investment in development of Africa’s infrastructure such as roads and rail transportation systems, energy including hydroelectric power, harbours and other coastal development, as well as major expansion of the area under agriculture. These developments will be driven by finance and without responsible planning, environmental standards and overall good governance these developments can greatly threaten Africa’s already stressed wild places and wildlife.

Now is the time to design development pathways that will lead Africa towards a long-term sustainable future

© Karine Aigner / WWF-US

As Africa shifts gear, there are opportunities to ensure that its ecological and natural resource base – the foundation of its growth – is not irrevocably damaged and can continue to support long-term sustainable development. To make the right choices it is critical that policy makers understand the links between drivers such as population growth, socio-economic development, climate change, energy, food and water needs.

Now is the time to design development pathways that will lead Africa towards a long-term sustainable future in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and other international environmental commitments necessary for its own prosperity.

With support from the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and WWF have launched a second phase of the African Ecological Futures project.

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© WWF / Simon Rawles