Building Knowledge and Skills in Natural Capital to Improve Development Finance in Africa

Region & Country
6 months

Teeming with wildlife, biodiverse landscapes, and a wealth of natural resources, Africa relies heavily on its natural capital. For more than 70% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa, the continent’s diverse natural landscapes are critical for sustaining their livelihoods. However, this great wealth of natural capital is often unaccounted for in investment and development decisions, and pressures such as energy and transportation infrastructure threaten to undermine the ecosystems supporting human livelihoods and well being. To address the need for widespread understanding of natural capital and its value in development policies and investments, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is implementing the Natural Capital Academy through the Natural Capital for African Development Finance (NC4-ADF) initiative, a project being led by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP).

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) is supporting the capacity building component of the NC4-ADF initiative through the development of a Natural Capital Academy. From July-December 2022, we designed a training curriculum on natural capital for development finance to provide tools and knowledge for development professionals to integrate natural capital into their work. The curriculum includes an overview of environmental economics and policy, valuation techniques, cost-benefit analysis, natural capital accounting, and case studies of integrating natural capital into development planning and finance.

The curriculum was integrated into an online virtual course - Natural Capital for Development Finance in Africa - on CSF’s Numbers for Nature Training Institute platform, with presentations and reading materials, quizzes to gauge participant comprehension, practical case study examples, and a final project exercise. We then adapted the curriculum for an in-person training course, with pilot sessions led by CSF and WWF in Mozambique in October for government officials, and by CSF and AfDB in Kenya in December for professionals from development finance institutions across Africa.

AfDB plans to integrate the course into their online training portal, and aims to continue delivering in-person versions of the training in both Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

Photo: Participants and course instructors in the Natural Capital Approaches for a Green Economy in Africa course at Nairobi National Park in Kenya
Photo Credit: Conservation Strategy Fund