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EditPhoto Title:Sub-Saharan Africa
EditPhoto Description:Africa is growing, fast. The world is taking note. The potential is huge. And we have to seize the opportunity.
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_91868547.jpg
EditImage Description:Woman carrying baby, Togo.
EditPhoto Credit:© Art Wolfe/
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Map of Sub-Saharan Africa. © Conservation International

Africa is vast — about as big as the United States, China, India and Australia combined.

And it holds great wealth — in its forests, its oceans, its minerals and more.

But Africa’s resources are being depleted far too quickly. And if we don’t protect them, we’re putting the continent, and the more than 2 billion people who will call it home by 2050, at grave risk.

Why is Sub-Saharan Africa important?

Jobs and Prosperity

In sub-Saharan Africa, the current population of nearly 1 billion is set to double in the next 40 years. Yet today, two-thirds of people are self-employed, work without pay or otherwise work outside the formal economy. Job creation is a top priority for lifting hundreds of millions of Africans out of poverty and, ultimately, benefiting us all.

Energy to Fuel Growth

Africa exports a wealth of energy resources, like the oil that fuels our cars and the natural gas that heats our homes. In fact, 19 African countries have significant oil and gas reserves. To help the continent grow alongside the global economy, we have to find smart, sustainable ways to use these resources.

Resources to Build

The metals in your phone. The coffee in your cup. The chocolate in your candy bar. Africa is endowed with valuable stocks of these products and countless others — in its lands, in its seas and beneath its soils. And they are key to the continent’s sustainable growth.

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EditCircle color:fact--color-677782    
EditCircle icon:icon-pickaxe
EditResult value:80%
EditResult field:exports from natural resources
EditText:Growing extractive industry
More than one quarter of Africans live in countries where natural resources account for more than 80% of exports. Too often, however, industrial activity causes serious, long-term environmental harm, even as communities don’t always see the full benefits. Africa loses tens of billions of dollars a year to illegal activities, many of them in the extractives industry.


EditCircle color:fact--brown    
EditCircle icon:icon-deforestation
EditResult value:2x
EditResult field:the global rate of deforestation
In sub-Saharan Africa, firewood and brush supply about 52% of all energy sources, but Africa is suffering deforestation at twice the global rate. Madagascar has already lost more than 90% of its original forest. Deforestation contributes to climate change and leads to the loss of important species and to erosion that puts access to fresh water in severe danger.


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EditCircle color:fact--blue    
EditCircle icon:icon-fish
EditResult value:50%
EditResult field:exports from natural resources
EditText:Climate change
The African continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change. In fact, with 80% of the African population dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, it could cost as much as US$ 50 billion a year for Africa to adapt to the effects of climate change. Moreover, climate change could also mean a 50% decline in jobs related to fisheries.


EditCircle color:fact--gold    
EditCircle icon:icon-elephant
EditResult value:30,000
EditResult field:elephants killed by poachers
EditText:Illegal wildlife trade
Wildlife trafficking is valued at more than US$ 7 billion a year, making it the world’s fifth most lucrative illegal activity and putting huge sums of money in the coffers of criminals, including terrorist groups. In 2012 alone, poachers killed 35,000 elephants, threatening to destabilize nations, hurt security forces and seriously harm local economies that depend on wildlife.
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CI’s solutions

Across sub-Saharan Africa, CI is engaging African leaders, empowering local communities and helping to evaluate the true value of the region’s natural resources. We worked closely with the government of Botswana to create the Gaborone Declaration — a set of goals that place nature at the foundation of development — and 10 African countries have already signed on. At the same time, we’re working on the ground — using technology to collect near real-time data about the health of the region’s forests and farms and demonstrating the real dollar value of Africa’s natural resources to show how conservation is also good business.

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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_14715192.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Maasai women singing. © Marc Samsom 2008
EditCaption Title:The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa
EditCaption Description:CI looks for opportunities to partner with local and national leaders in Africa who are champions of the environment. We worked closely with the government of Botswana to create the Gaborone Declaration — a set of goals that, when put into action, place nature at the foundation of development. Ten African countries have already signed on.
EditRead More Text:Read More
EditRead More Link:/projects/pages/gaborone-declaration-for-sustainability-in-africa.aspx[Optional]
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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_46186209.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Iron ore mining in Liberia. © jbdodane/
EditCaption Title:Responsible Mining in Liberia’s Nimba Mountains
EditCaption Description:Conservation is only effective when local societies take ownership of managing their resources in a sustainable and responsible way. Working on the ground to test new practices and policies, CI helps identify good approaches to conservation that communities, governments and others can effectively replicate in other areas.
EditRead More Text:Read More
EditRead More Link:/projects/pages/responsible-mining-in-liberia-nimba-mountains.aspx[Optional]
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EditImage Alt Text:Children in the Ankeniheny Zahamena Corridor, Madagascar. © Conservation International/photo by Solofoniaina Ralaimihoatra
EditCaption Title:Avoiding Deforestation in Madagascar
EditCaption Description:The health of a forest is proving to be intimately tied with the health of society.
EditRead More Text:Read More
EditRead More Link:/projects/pages/avoiding-deforestation-in-madagascar.aspx[Optional]
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EditCall to Action Title:What can you do?
EditCall to Action Description:Help us bring communities and leaders together for conservation, in Africa and all over the world.
EditCall to Action Button Description:Donate now
EditCall to Action Button Link:/donate
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EditSection Title:Watch
EditSection subtitle:African leaders are answering the call for development solutions that value both people and the planet. Watch this video.
EditVideo ID:0DL4sjfyZOo
EditVideo Thumbnail (must be 16x9 pixel ratio):[Optional]
EditVideo Page URL:/pages/video.aspx
EditVideo image alt text:Video: Summit for Sustainability in Africa: Highlights
EditBackground image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_78712405.jpg
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EditSection Title:Say no to illegal wildlife products
EditSection subtitle:Understand where your food, pets, ornaments, apparel and materials come from, and if in doubt, don't order or buy them.
EditButton link:/pages/what-you-can-do-tips.aspx#say-no-to-illegal-wildlife-products
EditButton text:Learn more
EditBackground image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_16936603.jpg
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First Image

EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada
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Second Image

EditTitle:Wildlife Trade and Trafficking
EditImage Alt Text:A leopard cat kitten at the Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Centre. © Conservation International/photo by Molly Bergen
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Third Image

EditTitle:Working with Governments
EditImage Alt Text:Flags from all over the world. © Brasil2
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