We support Africa’s ambitious effort to restore productivity to 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by funding a network of pioneering restoration projects and small businesses. We give special focus to technical training and improved monitoring.
Accelerating Africa’s Locally Led Restoration Movement
Africa is the continent where both the need and opportunity for restoration are the greatest. Sixty-five percent of arable land in Sub-Saharan Africa is too damaged to produce food, even as 70% of its people rely on it for their livelihoods. Thirty-five of the 45 countries at the greatest risk of harmful effects of climate change are in Sub-Saharan Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts have triggered a global economic slowdown, putting even greater pressure on Africa’s landscapes, and pushing more people into poverty.
Yet there is hope. Africa is home to some of the world’s greatest restoration successes. More than 750 million hectares of land could be restored across the continent. The African Union has set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. Restoration at this scale would sequester 3.0 GtCO2e – equivalent to taking 650 million cars off the road for one year – and improve food and water security, livelihoods, and climate resilience of an estimated 235 million African people.
While progress is being made, overall implementation lags behind what is needed.
The Bezos Earth Fund supports the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) to accelerate restoration across the continent. We invest in Africa’s “new restoration economy” by funding best-in-class restoration projects and small businesses. These locally led efforts are restoring 20,000 hectares, creating 25,000 full and part-time jobs, and adopting geo-referenced project monitoring tools. Together these projects and businesses act as models that will be scaled up across millions of hectares.