The continent has experienced significant and unprecedented growth across a host of development indices. In the course of the next few decades, Africa will increasingly assert its role as a global economic player, while simultaneously lifting millions of citizens out of poverty. As Africa transforms itself, it has the potential to alter dramatically its own ecological character, i.e. to change the nature and extent of its natural capital. As expanding economic activity converges with sensitive ecosystems, we are likely to witness the emergence of several ecological frontiers – areas where the ecological foundation of Africa’s growth could be chipped away or destroyed altogether by this development.
This report is based on this premise that African ecological futures can be fundamentally altered by economic and development decisions made today. In order to better understand what these futures might be and how to manage their impacts, the report investigates key forces shaping Africa’s today and tomorrow and draws a picture of how they come together across plausible scenarios to influence ecological futures. The report explores guiding principles for decisions and particular interventions by decision makers that may create the opportunity for more robust and resilient development.