© Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell / WWF
Much has changed in Africa since WWF started its work on the continent. Economic trends, population dynamics, infrastructural development, technological advances, increased civic consciousness, changed political regimes and outlooks, increased natural resource extraction and the introduction of new trading patterns and partners are just a few of the changes that have been witnessed on the continent over the past few decades. The context in which WWF in Africa finds itself now is very different from that experienced in 1963.
While hundreds of millions of Africans still heavily depend on nature to provide for their daily food, fuel and shelter, the recent robust economic growth in the region and the new consumption patterns of the emerging middle-class are rapidly changing the face of Africa. Consumption patterns in the developed world as well as in countries such as China and India are also having significant impact on the economic and physical environment in Africa.
Africa’s unique nature and natural resources are under greater pressure than ever before. Life-sustaining ecosystems are rapidly degrading, thus compromising the future security, health and wellbeing of millions of Africans and creating new challenges to conservation efforts.
Africa is at a point at which it can embrace a more sustainable development path that will ensure environmental security, human well-being and increased economic competitiveness. The choices that Africa makes today about extractive industries development, infrastructure, energy, food production and other sectors will shape the future of the continent and the rest of the world.
It is clear that WWF must adjust its ways of working and approach to conservation if it is to continue to have an impact in the conservation of Africa’s natural resources. The WWF Vision 2020 strategy has been developed to position WWF in Africa as an important, effective ad authoritative conservation organization in the region and globally: able to respond to and influence the changing socio-economic and political landscape for the benefit of the environment in Africa and the survival humanity globally.