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Restoring Africa's landscape: 10 countries unite to combat deforestation

Aerial view of the Bateke station, home to Africa's largest agroforestry project situated 150km from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Aerial view of the Bateke station, home to Africa's largest agroforestry project situated 150km from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo Jeff Hulio

Ten African countries have committed to restoring 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land across the continent over the next 15 years. The plan, which costs $1.6bn (€1.4bn), will be underpinned by a $1bn investment from the World Bank and the rest from private sector investment.

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The AFR-100 scheme was launched on Sunday in Paris.

It will be backed by almost one billion euros from the World Bank, additional funds from Germany, as well as over half a million euros in private-sector investment.

The countries taking part so far are Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda.

The new land restoration programme builds on national commitments made by African countries for a UN deal to tackle climate change, due to be agreed in the French capital next week.

So far, 13 of the climate action plans submitted by African governments include restoration, conservation of standing forests, or agriculture that adapts to climate shifts and limits greenhouse gas emissions.

Implementing those pledges starting in 2020 would reduce Africa's annual emissions by 36 percent, or 0.25 percent of global emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

As well as storing carbon, forests and trees can improve soil fertility and food security, increase water supplies, reduce desertification, boost biodiversity and help create green jobs, according to a statement on the AFR-100.

With Africa's population expected to nearly double by 2050, demands are increasing on already scarce soil and water resources, as climate change bites.

Land restoration efforts include planting trees, stopping soil erosion and improving soil health, bringing wide benefits.

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