WRI Africa opens with a focus on Forests, Cities, and Water

With the inauguration of new regional office, World Resources Institute (WRI) Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, WRI will focus on three core issues in Africa i.e. forests, cities and water

Launch of WRI Africa

ADDIS ABABA: Building on decades of work across the continent, World Resources Institute inaugurated a new regional office, WRI Africa, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Drawing on WRI’s global knowledge base, hands-on experience in emerging economies, and prior work in Africa, WRI Africa will have a dual role: engaging with partners in Ethiopia and serving as a hub for WRI’s growing engagement in Africa.

“Africa is on the front lines of the most exciting economic development and environmental challenges in the world. Given the rapid growth and innovation across Africa, we have much to learn from its people, landscapes, and histories,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, WRI. “With nearly half the world’s poor in Africa, we are eager to expand our work with partners to bring more people out of poverty, while helping advance more vibrant landscapes, more fresh water, and more livable cities where people can thrive.”

“African leaders face choices today that will impact the lives and livelihoods of millions of people and the stability of vital ecosystems for generations to come. WRI Africa will enable us to deepen our evidence-based analysis in the region to support civil society, companies, and governments in making decisions that protect the environment and improve human well-being,” said Kitty van der Heijden, Director, WRI Europe & Africa.

Recognizing Africa’s size, complexity, and diversity, WRI Africa will focus on three core issues: forests, cities, and water.

  • Forests: Africa holds almost 30 percent of the world’s forests, which provide subsistence to at least 100 million people. Yet Africa’s forests are under pressure from industrial agriculture and extraction of timber, minerals, oil and gas. WRI staff will support African countries to develop land use planning frameworks that restore forests and agricultural landscapes while advancing local communities’ needs. Africa has major potential for restoration, and 26 countries have already committed to restore more than 85 million hectares of degraded and deforested land through AFR100, a country-driven initiative that WRI helps to coordinate alongside the NEPAD Secretariat and other partners.
  • Cities: Africa is urbanizing faster than any other region. By 2030, more than half of Africans will live in cities, yet most of Africa’s urban infrastructure has yet to be built. The region can avoid costly mistakes made elsewhere and instead build compact, connected, coordinated cities— urban areas that are resilient, inclusive, and productive job centers. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will engage with national policymakers, mayors, and regional leaders to support sustainable urban growth, advise on national urban policies, and conduct training, technical assistance, and analysis.
  • Water: Population growth and rising demands from agriculture, energy, manufacturing and urban centers are straining surface and groundwater supplies across Africa. Through WRI’s Aqueduct platform, we will offer private and public-sector leaders locally relevant data, water risk maps, and projections to manage water more effectively.

“There is a renewed sense of optimism in Africa. African economies are growing faster and its population is younger than those in other continents. These trends can be key drivers of poverty reduction and improved livelihoods on the continent,” said Wanjira Mathai, Senior Advisor to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and Co-Chair of WRI’s Global Restoration Council.

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