From the northernmost point of Morocco to the tip of South Africa, the continent is only realising a fraction of the economic potential tied up in its forests, lakes, mines and coastlines, UNEP said in a report titled "Our Environment, Our Wealth".
"The report challenges the myth that Africa is poor. Indeed, it points out that its vast natural wealth can ... be the basis for an African renaissance," said UNEP's new executive director Achim Steiner.
"The economic importance of the environment is increasingly recognised by Africa's leaders as an instrument for development, for livelihoods, for peace and stability," Steiner added.
But he warned that without changes in policy or sufficient funding "Africa may take a far more unsustainable track that would see an erosion of its nature-based wealth and a slide into ever deeper poverty".
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Categories: biodiversity, conservation, poverty, ecosystemservices