Working at scale
Companies negotiate with COMESA as a single entity—meaning that rules surrounding infrastructure and extractive industries apply across all 20 countries. In essence, a single agreement with COMESA allows AWF to work at scale, in 20 countries at once.
“As a COMESA partner, AWF now has access to information about potential projects in the early planning stages,” Sebunya says. “AWF can speak for wildlife and wild lands to make sure that these projects occur in places suitable for development and do not threaten Africa’s rich natural heritage.”
Sebunya adds: “Too often, development decisions are made independent of wildlife and wild lands conservation. Wildlife, however, is very much an economic issue.
“If Africa harvests and trades away its natural resources, our continent will not continue to enjoy robust economic growth. If we raze our forests and develop every last inch of our savannas, our children will inherit a continent with declining air quality, growing water insecurity, depleting food resources, declining tourism and more. By engaging with business leaders and heads of state, AWF is working to elevate conservation to the status of an economic and foreign policy issue in the eyes of governments.”