colorful birds in flight
In Flight Carmine bee-eater colonies in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. © Kenneth K. Coe

Stories in Africa

Africa 2023 Year in Review

Headshot of Ademola Ajagbe.
Ademola Ajagbe Regional Managing Director, Africa


On a recent trip to northern Kenya, I felt mixed emotions as we flew over the vast rangeland. It was very dry due to four cycles of failed rain and depleted by overgrazing. We saw signs of erosion where drought-hardened ground was unable to absorb the gift of recent rains, and only scant tender green grass sprouting. Upon arrival at the TNC-supported Westgate Community Conservancy, the story was different. We met ladies from surrounding communities planting grass seeds to restore their rangeland ecosystem. We saw signs of the seeds breaking ground. The whole story of the rangeland was evident: It’s only a matter of time.

The twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change are ratcheting up the urgency of the task at hand and the narrow window to make enduring and transformational impact in the priority geographies where we work. To rise to these challenges, we are planting new seeds at ever greater scales and prioritizing three strategies that are essential for progress and durability: partnerships, science, and people.

While we have always worked with and through partners, this approach is more important than ever before. By investing in training, mentoring, and resourcing strong grassroots organizations, we can work faster, make an impact well beyond our own teams, and build a network of skilled and inspired African conservation leaders.

We’ve been guided by science from the very beginning, and at this pivotal moment of breathtaking growth, it’s rigorous science that will keep us moving in the right direction and enable us to strengthen and focus on areas where we can make a difference.

And, of course, running through everything we do is our commitment to benefiting people, especially local communities. In the following pages, you’ll see examples of how these three key strategies are helping us rise to the ambition of our 2030 Goals.

The visit to Westgate reminded me of the importance—and promise—of our work. It’s not only about saving what we have, but also about restoring what we seemingly have lost. This would not be possible without you, our supporters, and the grassroot organizations that we partner with across Africa.

An African proverb says a single bracelet does not jingle. It takes a group effort to accomplish things. My heartfelt gratitude goes to our supporters and partners. You make us jingle.

Headshot of Ademola Ajagbe.

Ademola Ajagbe is the Regional Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Africa program.

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