The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) took part in the sixth African Leadership Forum held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania from August 28-30, 2019. The forum was hosted by the Office of the Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa in conjunction with the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development, better known as UONGOZI Institute. The forum, under the theme Promoting Good Natural Resource Management for Socio-economic Transformation in Africa, sought to provide a platform to deliberate on the prospects of sustainable development and transformation on the continent, for the continent, by the continent.
“A more positive future for Africa’s people hinges on how leaders on the continent, at all levels, and Africa’s development partners will respond to these challenges. Whereas many of the right steps are being taken to attract financial capital, the same care is often not being taken to preserve Africa’s natural capital,” AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya emphasized.
The panelists at the high-level plenary discussion debated on the main issues facing renewable natural resources in the continent and shared their country positions on how to promote sustainable use of these resources while ensuring that Africa remains at the forefront of the rest with a unified approach.
“It is now time to have Africa come together with a common understanding that natural resources in this continent are owned by us, and thus any decisions on how to manage them should be made by us,” said H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and also AWF Board Vice-Chair.
The high-level panelists in the forum included: H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E Hery Rajaonarimampianina, former President of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar, and Mr. Ali Mufuruki, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Infotech Investment Group Limited.
Sebunya also spoke at the Basic Principles for Managing Renewable Resources panel alongside some of the world’s leaders like H.E. Thabo Mbeki and H.E Hery Rajaonarimampianina. They debated on how Africa can reevaluate its approach on the use of the natural resources while keeping in mind that agreed proposals can be adopted, and also discussed the challenges that may be facing African countries in their implementation processes.
AWF calls upon leaders to work together and ensure that conservation is streamlined in development because without one, the other cannot succeed. “Development and the protection of our ecosystems need not be mutually exclusive. And without stopping the pace of development, we must make better choices to minimize the consequences and net impact on nature’s ecosystems,” Sebunya reiterated.
The African Leadership Forum was conceived as a space for Africa’s eminent elders to interact with current and future leaders around the strategic challenges facing the continent. The annual meeting brings together former Heads of State as well as leaders from government, civil society, the private sector, and academia from across Africa.