World Land Accelerator programme focuses on land restoration

Accra- The World Resources Institute (WRI), in partnership with Fledge, will host the maiden edition of the Land Accelerator Conference to drive investment towards restoring the world’s degraded and deforested lands.

Fledge is a global network of conscious company accelerators and investment funds, helping entrepreneurs to create impactful companies among other things.

The four-day event, which would take place on December 3, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya and offer 12 entrepreneurs from seven African countries a chance to pitch their businesses directly to investors.

One of the 12 entrepreneurs is a Ghanaian called Mr Theodore Ocansey, Founder and Managing Director Kete-Krachi Farms Ltd, who operates a commercial cashew growing and processing business using the nucleus estate model.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Ms Sofia Faruqi, the Manager of WRI’s New Restoration Economy, said the four-day event would provide intensive training, mentoring and networking, leading to the final day of pitching.

The Land Accelerator will not only help companies reach their next stage of growth but will also contribute to African countries’ national land restoration strategies, she said.

She explained that the strategies had been developed as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a country-led initiative for which WRI acts as a managing partner.

Ms Faruqi noted that engaging private-sector investors and entrepreneurs was a key part of global restoration efforts.

In recent years, hundreds of companies had entered the growing landscape restoration industry, forming an emerging restoration economy, she said.

They represent a wide range of business models that deliver financial returns for investors while restoring forests and agricultural lands, she said.

Ms Faruqi said: At a time when the younger generation is shying away from land-based activities, these entrepreneurs are racing toward it because they see a promising business opportunity.

Mr Luni Libes, the Founder of Fledge, said: Fledge is excited to be working with WRI to create the Land Accelerator in Nairobi, as we’re finally able to bring our training to Africans in Africa.

He said restoration was essential in the fight against climate change and that research indicates that natural climate solutions, including the restoration and conservation of forests and land, provided cost-effective climate mitigation, with the potential to deliver 37 per cent of the emission reductions needed to keep global warming below 2C.

Mr Libes said trees and forests improved water availability, increased food production, made communities more resilient to extreme weather, and combated poverty, particularly in rural regions throughout Africa.

Mr Mamadou Diakhite, of the AFR100 Secretariat, NEPAD Agency, said there had been many inspiring successes already and called on Africans to recognise the need for impactful action.

Now it’s a good time to mobilise private sector investment for the Forest Landscape Restoration. Together we can make Africa’s landscapes productive and resilient, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency