From: Reuters
Published February 21, 2008 09:23 AM

AfDB gives $814 mln for Central Africa forests

TUNIS (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide $814 million over the next two years to help safeguard Central African forests threatened by war, poverty and poor governance, the bank said on Thursday.

Bank President Donald Kaberuka told reporters the money would go to 13 projects aimed at improving the management of natural resources in 2008-2010 in the Congo Basin, home to 37 percent of the world's remaining tropical forests.

"Forests (in the Congo Basin) have an important economic and climatic role ... Unfortunately, these forests are threatened mainly by poverty, governance crises and conflicts," he said.

The bank previously provided a total of $2.7 billion to Central African states to improve farming and protect forests.

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A 2006 study by non-governmental organizations showed that half of the Congo Basin forests would disappear in 2030 due to intensive exploitation and population growth.

Environmental groups say that protecting tropical forests is the most direct and fastest way to mitigate some of the impact of climate change.

Scientists say Africa is expected to be hit hardest by global warming, which is blamed on carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport and modern lifestyles in rich countries.

(Reporting by Sonia Ounissi; editing by William Maclean and Elizabeth Piper)

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