This policy paper details the preeminent that is waiting to be played by the adoption of ecosystems management as an instrument of natural resources management in Africa, and how such a change would open the way to greater sustainability in resource use in the continent and catapult the continent to a greener path to economic development. Many Africa’s societies have a broad diversity of natural resources (soils, vegetation, water, wildlife, etc.) which constitute the continent’s natural capital assets that have been harnessed to different degrees to enhance social, human and financial capital to alleviate poverty. However, inappropriate management practices in the use of these natural resources which form the basis of their ecosystems services and processes, have led to a decline in ecosystems ‘capacity to produce goods and services thus jeopardising their social and economic value for human societies across the continent.
Even though Africa’s societies depend upon ecosystems to deliver net development gains, benefits accruing from those ecosystem services are unequally distributed and have led to losses for some communities, leaving many groups unable to break free from poverty (MA, 2005). Deliberate and informed investing in ecosystems can bring enormous benefits to the Africa’s continent, providing the dual goals of supporting local communities, as well as helping them cope with and adapt to a changing climate