Ten African countries have pledged to restore a total of 100 million hectares parcel of land under forest cover. That would be about 386,000 square miles of land, and they have set a target of achieving this by the year 2030.
This decision was decided during the climate change conference in Paris. The ten countries also have pledged to replenish about 31.7 million hectares of land that have undergone deforestation or degraded through man’s influence.
Out of the ten, four African countries, namely Kenya, Togo, Madagascar, and Malawi have agreed to be part of the reforestation process but have not yet declared the size of land they are going to restore. Other African countries not included in this initiative have also promised to protect better their forests and use eco-friendly farming practices.
Although Africa as a continent contributes little greenhouse gasses compared to industrialized countries like United States, China, European Union, India, Russia, Japan, and Canada. They bear some of the greatest effects of global warming on the planet; characterized by changing rainfall patterns. According to the World Meteorological Organization, over 1,300 natural disasters hit the continent in the period between 1970 and 2012.
In the past five years, the African continent alongside South America has registered the highest deforestation rate. The official estimates standing somewhere around 2.8 million hectares of land per year in the period between 2010 and 2015. However, the African continent is still home to about a fifth of the planet’s stock of untouched forest. It is estimated Africa has about 650 million hectares of land covered in forest, which also acts as a ‘carbon sink’ that absorbs 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is according to the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina.
The World Resources Institute estimates that if the ten African countries achieve their target, more than a third of Africa’s greenhouse emission or about 0.25% of world’s emission will be reduced in the next ten years. The World Bank alongside Germany has pledged more than $1 billion to support the initiative by the ten African countries; that have been dubbed the African Restoration Initiative (AFR100). France has additionally said it plans to double its investment in renewable energy project across the continent.