The World Resources Institute (WRI) continues to provide funding for projects that seek to restore 100 million of hectares of degraded land in Africa through TerraFund for AFR100 program established to finance Africa’s Top Land Restoration Enterprises and Projects.
In the meantime, a group of ambitious donors have capitalized TerraFund for AFR100 to finance the top 100 African non-profit community organizations and for-profit businesses that are restoring trees to suitable African landscapes. They will provide funding of $50,000 to $500,000 in the form of grants and loans to each of these innovators.
Speaking at the webinar on Tuesday, 11 January 2022, Dr. Bernadette Arakwiye, a Research Associate in the Forest Program and in-country liaison for WRI in Rwanda revealed that restoring degraded lands in Africa has the potential to offer numerous environmental, social and economic benefits from carbon sequestration, improved agricultural productivity to creating jobs for thousands unemployed people across the continent.
“Restoration is really a unique solution to reverse the current situation.” She said.
Experts estimate that every $1 invested in restoration can yield between seven and $30 in benefits.
Dr. Arakwiye added that research also shows that Terrafund afr100 initiative of restoring 100 million hectares could reduce close to a half gigatons of co2 emissions annually.
“Now, despite the social, environmental and economic benefits that we stand to obtain from restoration, there’s still a massive funding gap.” She added
According to the statistics, about 85% of the funding to support the restoration and the conservation state sectors still does not yet exist.
“So as the AFR100 countries gear up to create demonstrable action on the ground, it is important to secure the necessary funding to support restoration implementation, and to address any challenge to restoration implementation so that the goals of the initiative can be realised” Dr. Arakwiye explained.
Six years ago, African leaders recognized that the degradation of 65 percent of the continent’s agricultural land threatens economic and environmental ruin for millions of farmers.
They realized this just as the effects of climate change – lower crop yields, erratic rainfall, prolonged droughts – are making life harder for millions of farmers, herders, and city dwellers.
That’s why African countries have pledged to begin restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 through the AFR100 Initiative.
According to the officials in charge of the fund, thousands of local innovators are now pioneering projects and business models that show that restoration can create a prosperous, nature-positive future for Africa.
Ms. Arakwiye revealed that during the second phase of the Terrafund AFR100 funding program, the initiative really wants to focus on key four areas that are going to allow catalyzing restoration on the ground.
She highlighted that in the first phase the initiative seeks to deepen political determination at the national level to keep the restoration momentum going while Phase two will continue to build project pipelines and develop the capacity of restoration innovators to allow more implementation of scalable restoration activities.
“And third, the initiative will implement innovative approaches to channel finance directed to restoration implementers.” She noted.
Introduced at the UN climate change conference (COP26) in November 2021, the first cohort of 20 restoration champions employs a wide variety of tree-based restoration techniques, ranging from agroforestry (growing trees on farms to improve food security) through assisted natural regeneration (helping trees grow back to revitalize biodiversity).
During the webinar that took place on this 11th January 2022, a second cohort of 11 organizations was officially welcomed.
Dr. Arakwiye mentioned that “This is the first concrete investment in the second phase of AFR100, with the goal of restoring 20 million hectares by 2026 to bring an estimated $135 billion in benefits to 40 million people. By COP27, partners are looking to mobilize the first $2 billion in flexible capital and debut a new financial architecture that can facilitate investment in hundreds of organizations that support smallholder farmers.”
Really, this phase to have AFR 100 is being structured to keep the restoration implementers at the center in order to provide them with the resources that they need to successfully implement and scale up their restoration activities.
Experience shows that enterprises and community organizations are playing a key role in implementing scalable restoration activities.
The WRI launched Terrafund for AFR100 to support the restoration enterprises and community organizations that are restoring land by planting and growing trees.