Out with oil: New hope for Virunga National Park

Oil companies pose a threat to the future of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo but cases for sustainable development approaches to park management as an alternative means to developing the region economically, present greater long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for the region.

Democratic Republic of Congo. Shores of Lake Edward in Virunga National Park. Photo courtesy MONUSCO/Abel Kavanagh/ Flickr

Democratic Republic of Congo. Shores of Lake Edward in Virunga National Park. Photo courtesy MONUSCO/Abel Kavanagh/flickr

Written by Lonnie Kehler1; Updated by Tanya Bruggemann

Through the World Heritage Convention UNESCO seeks to identify and preserve natural and cultural heritage sites that have incalculable value. Unfortunately, 55 established World Heritage sites are listed as “in danger”, and Africa has more than its fair share at 17. The high number of affected African sites reflects particular challenges of the continent, notably civil unrest and war.2 The Virunga National Park in the DRC and Uganda, Africa’s oldest national park, is one of those sites.

Instability in the region has had devastating consequences for the park, for its wildlife and for those who look after it. The park and its rangers are threatened by poachers and rebel groups, and now another threat, in foreign oil companies interested in exploration within park borders, has been developing over the last few years.

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IOA at a glance

Over the past decade, In On Africa (IOA) has positioned itself as one of the top research, intelligence and publishing firms in and focused exclusively on Africa. The company works with a wide array of clients across the African continent through its complementary divisions, service offerings and insight-driven products.

The infographic provides a snapshot of IOA – its core offerings, mission, values, vision and key differentiators.

The Future of African Food Security

Seeking solutions to nourish nations in the face of climatic and developmental uncertainty

IOA’s report, The Future of African Food Security, explores the current state of food security in light of the severe drought conditions and what impacts will result from these and the rise in global temperatures. Measures to improve food security are presented and discussed, including campaigns and programmes spearheaded by international organisations, reducing food waste and food loss, and the role sustainable farming practices can play in alleviating poverty and ensuring food security.

IOA consultants with expertise in food security and sustainability provide their input on these matters. What results from discussion throughout the report is a conclusion that a multi-pronged approach is needed to address issues of food security. Included in the requirements is land reform, balancing agriculture for export with agricultural production needed to feed local populations, and low-cost technologies to make farming viable at the family and community level.

Against a backdrop of climate change, African agriculture can be reformed to finally meet the nutritional needs of all African people, creating an optimistic future for the African continent.

Sustainability & Redefining African Development

Meeting targets or creating change?

IOA was privileged to participate in the 2016 Sustainability Summit at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) – a two-day event founded and organised by Blank Canvas International. The Sustainability Summit is a platform for trusted collaboration between business leaders and building of relationships towards more sustainable, agile business for Africa.

IOA and Blank Canvas International collaborated to develop the Sustainability & Redefining African Development report. The report assesses Africa’s efforts and progress toward ‘sustainable development’ and argues that what is needed is real, transformative change to unlock the incredible potential within Africa’s diverse communities, businesses, economies and cultures.

Battle over Africa’s oceanic treasures

Surprisingly, no shots have been fired by African navies against foreign vessels that illegally plunder fish and undersea mineral resources from Africa’s territorial waters. However, as fish stocks diminish and African peoples’ understanding of the value of sea minerals grows, aggressive responses will replace government’s lackadaisical attitudes.

SOMALIA, Mogadishu: In a photograph taken 16 March 2013 and release by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team 18 March, traders wait to sell their fish inside Mogadishu's fish market in the Xamar Weyne district of the Somali capital. Every morning Mogadishu's fisherman bring their catch from the Indian Ocean ashore upon which it is quickly unloaded and transported to Xamar Weyne's lively and chaotic fish market where it is sold for consumption on the local market and increasingly, for export to other countries. Over the last two decades, instability on land has greatly restricted the development of the country's fishing industry, but now that Somalia is enjoying the longest period of sustained peace in over 20 years, there is large-scale potential and opportunity to harvest the bountiful waters off the Horn of Africa nation, which boasts the longest coastline in Africa. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

SOMALIA, Fishermen display their catch at a fish market in Mogadishu. Photo courtesy AMISOM/flickr

The scenario in which Mozambican, Namibian, Tanzanian and South African warships or boats from other African countries’ navies chase off or even fire upon an ever-growing fleet of foreign pirate ships is easy to imagine. No, the pirates are not the old-fashioned type that raid commercial vessels or kidnap ship crews or well-heeled guests on luxury yachts as is practiced off Somalia in East Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Rather, the invading armada is comprised of industrial-capacity vessels whose aim is to loot Africa’s aquatic natural resources.

In so doing, Chinese fishing ships decimate fisheries, rendering African fishermen who for generations have depended on the waters for their livelihoods unemployed and made fish expensive or unavailable to local markets and their customers who rely on fish for basic nutrition. Aquatic life is just one resource that is being looted. Mineral resources have also drawn pirates. Read more