By Amit Banka
The movement of people, products, services, and
finance through digital channels has seen unprecedented growth in the last
Digitization has brought about connecting economies in Africa like
never before. So much so that to be unconnected is to prevent development and
growth. The new world demands that everyone join the digital movement.
We live in a world with unpredictable weather
conditions, forest fires, and much more. The climate crisis is only going to
exacerbate over the coming decades.
A report by World Economic Forum
highlighted that $44 trillion of economic value generation – which is about
half of the world’s total GDP – is potentially at risk due to businesses
depending on nature and its services.
This means there is a real need as well as
viability for people and organizations to invest in climate action.
If we focus
on building sustainable businesses while reducing our carbon footprint, it can help
mitigate the effects of climate change.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can only be
achieved when we place Climate Action at the center of every decision-making
And that’s why a digital transformation in climate
action is the need of the hour. We need to look for digital and tech solutions
in nature in this decade of action.
The continent of Africa has been a trailblazer for
environmental conservation – with or without technology. And yet, there are
marvellous examples of digitization across the continent using modern
Hluhluwe–Imfolozi in South Africa has developed
into a smart park that utilizes the Microsoft Azure cloud to deploy camera
traps for monitoring activities. Such preservation techniques have helped save
the southern white rhino from extinction.
An organization called Local Ocean Conservation in
Kenya, founded by the local community members of Watamu, uses Artificial
Intelligence to identify the sea turtle population instead of using the harmful
metal tagging method.
With technology and digitization, data collection –
which was previously expensive – is now quite feasible. With better data
collection, it is easier to keep the wildlife census and protect them, among
many other benefits.
Amit Banka is the founder & CEO,
And yet, today, Africa struggles with gaining
access to many of the digital and technology-driven offerings that the youth
across the globe might have access to – chief among them is being connected.
According to Statista, in December 2021, the
internet penetration rate in Africa stood at 43.1%. In contrast, the global
average internet penetration rate was 66%.
We know that the role of internet penetration is
crucial in sectors like education, healthcare, energy, and governance.
believe it’s just as critical for climate action. Africans have been the
custodians of nature since time immemorial. Improving the internet’s
infrastructure could go a long way in conserving, protecting and preserving
I believe the world’s future rests on the shoulders
of children and youth. As the old proverb goes, “Until the lion learns how
to write, every story will glorify the hunter.” For me, empowering people
with the right kind of tools can go a long way in bringing about real
My interactions with the youth in Africa renewed my
faith that they’re eager to contribute to the protection of nature.
precisely why digital solutions are proving beneficial for them. In addition,
access to the internet has helped connect many Africans to conservationists and
nature professionals across the world.
Using platforms like https://wenaturalists.com/WeNaturalists,
conservationists and naturalists in Africa have built their gated communities.
It has also drawn the world’s attention to the nature preservation activities
going on in Africa, which were perhaps not as widely known before.
And that’s why we should be focusing on a digital
transformation in Africa.
In this digitalized world, empowering the African
Youth with digital tools will help them thrive and achieve much more. Take the
tourism sector, which is an essential contributor to GDP for Africans.
By marketing its national parks, sanctuaries and
wildlife tourist spots to people worldwide on various social media platforms –
the internet has played a significant role in attracting visitors.
visitors mean more revenue generation and employment opportunities for native
We need to provide opportunities and offer
solutions such that nature becomes the primary career choice for youth,
especially in Africa. Careers in nature must move beyond weekend activities and
tree plantation drives.
Nature is universal – its problems and solutions
are global and local at the same time. During my recent visit to Kenya and
I realized that large corporates have access to several digital tools
and technologies. And yet, if small and medium enterprises are provided with
the same tools, the impact would be far greater.
Not just that, the
cross-pollination of solutions and ideas will be amplified on the ground.
A world with experts, policy-makers, eager
learners, determined youth and children – that’s what will save the natural
world from the ongoing climate crisis.
Amit Banka is the founder & CEO,
WeNaturalists.com, an ecosystem for nature professionals and organizations.