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Audio: Fred Swaniker on conservation as an economic growth opportunity for Africa

On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we speak with Fred Swaniker, the founder of the African Leadership University, which recently launched a School of Wildlife Conservation to help young Africans develop the skills and knowledge necessary to “own and drive” the conservation agenda on the African continent.

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Africa is facing some serious conservation challenges, including expanding agriculture and infrastructure, rapid human population growth, and global demand for its natural resources, from forests and oceans to wildlife. On top of all that, Africa is expected to be particularly impacted by the effects of global climate change.

Daunting as these challenges may seem, Fred Swaniker, an entrepreneur from Ghana, doesn’t see Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems as a dwindling resource — rather, he sees conservation as one of the great economic growth opportunities for Africa. Swaniker has made conservation one of the central priorities of his efforts to produce the next generation of African leaders through the African Leadership University (ALU), which currently has two campuses and plans to have 25 across Africa by 2025. ALU’s School of Wildlife Conservation specifically aims to help Africans use their knowledge, experience, and ideas to take ownership of wildlife and the natural environment and champion a new approach to conservation in Africa.

Swaniker appears on today’s episode to discuss how he personally became interested in wildlife and environmental conservation, the biggest things that need to change in African conservation, and how the African Leadership University is preparing the next generation to take on those challenges.

Here’s this episode’s top news:

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School of Wildlife Conservation students in the field. Image courtesy of ALU.
Fred Swaniker. Image courtesy of ALU.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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