• Day 2: Thursday, 30 August 2018
  • 14:00-14:45

Finance Plenary: Unlocking private capital to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes

Conference Room 2

The Bonn Challenge has brought much needed momentum to the quest to restore degraded land. As outlined by the World Resource Institute, there’s more than 2 billion ha of degraded land around the globe, that is neither productive from an economic point of view, nor delivering much-needed ecosystem services for a growing population. The Bonn Challenge and the AFR100 – the Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative – are outlining the objectives for the African continent: to restore 100 million hectares by 2030.

In this context, the question of finance comes up time and again. There is a large gap between the amount of funding required to restore degraded land and the amount available. Figures vary according to the level of ambition, but the Bonn Challenge, for example, estimates that about USD 36 billion is needed annually to restore 150 million hectares. International public funding currently available is substantially below that figure[1]. Private finance is critical, but hardly channelled to restore degraded land at present.

Thus far, most of the efforts and focus has been on grants and donations from governments and philanthropic organisations. Given the scale of the challenge, though, it can only be achieved with the systematic involvement of the private sector – including agricultural producers, traders and financiers. We need to ‘redirect’ private capital towards sustainable commodity production, including by prioritizing the rehabilitation of degraded land. The rationale (or “why”), as well as “how” this could be done, is explained in two recently released animated videos.

This session focuses on what some leading companies, experts and institutions are doing in this field, with the objective to trigger the imagination of the audience how those can be further replicated across Africa to create scale. The objective is to capture the imagination of the audience how to address the challenges brought forward by speakers and panellists and how to apply some of the solutions in your own (country) context.

[1] A recent analysis of international public finance by the Climate Policy 0Initiative (CPI) found US$ 5.8 billion in commitments for land use-related mitigation and adaption activities in developing countries. In addition, NatureVest, the impact investment unit of The Nature Conservancy, estimates that most of the capital committed and deployed to finance sustainable agriculture and forest products takes place in developed countries. Only about 14% of the US$ 1.2 billion in 2009-2013 in private investment funds was in developing countries.