The resulting supply chain disruptions and falling incomes have also led to surges in food insecurity. As people are forced to look for food elsewhere, forests, grasslands and other ecosystems are put under increasing pressure.
According to a press release that was made available to the Guardian by AUDA-NEPAD indicate that hundreds of entrepreneurs in Africa are tackling these challenges through locally led, market- driven green businesses that protect and restore farmland and forests.
Restoration businesses balance profitability with social and environmental impact by sequestering carbon, combating desertification and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change, while securing local food systems and creating jobs in struggling rural landscapes. Investing in them is key to creating a more sustainable future.
That’s where the Land Accelerator Africa, led by World Resources Institute (WRI), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Fledge, comes in. It is a training and mentorship program for restoration entrepreneurs that aims to build pitching, communication, financial and supply chain management skills, provide networking opportunities and boost companies’ investment readiness.
Giving details it reads that the accelerator has now worked with 104 entrepreneurs from 34 countries in total, including 78 local businesses from 27 countries for its third cohort in 2021. Each graduate is receiving a $5,000 innovation grant to help them scale up their businesses, and a selected group of 15 leading entrepreneurs are benefiting from customized support to improve their business models and understand the realities of the funding landscape from a team of expert mentors. The program is culminating in impact days, on October 26 and 27, where they will pitch investors.
Even prior to the Land Accelerator, this year’s cohort made massive impacts on their communities and the environment. This impact spans across the African nations that are home to businesses owned by the cohort, whose business models range from growing trees on farmland in agroforestry systems to technology solutions.
They report their businesses have restored over 90,000 hectares of land,grew over 11 million trees and employed over 9,000 people in total.