Chic African Culture Blog

Nonprofits Creating Poverty in African Rainforests

Issue of Congo Basin Rainforest of Africa

Nonprofits do much to help the African Rainforests but some make the problem worse in the Rainforest Congo Basin African country of Cameroon.

Former US President Bill Clinton Palm Out Poverty campaign was to alleviate poverty and its associated issues, including inequalities in education and healthcare. All for Africa is a registered non-profit organization co-founded in 2008 by Bruce Wrobel, who was the chairperson and executive director before his death in December 2013 of suicide at the age of 56.

Wrobel was also the chairperson and CEO of Herakles Farms a large agribusiness company. Sithe Global is an affiliate of Herakles Farms in the palm oil industry, which, in 2008, was incorporated in Ghana and Cameroon. Wrobel  along with the late Dr. Isisdore Timti was embroiled in controversies over his corruption and intimidation of local communities in Mundemba, Toko and Nguti to acquire their lands for an oil palm project.

Palm oil is the world’s main source of vegetable oil and fats. Sithe Global-Sustainable Oils in Cameroon made an agreement with the government of Cameroon, which detailed the terms of a multiyear lease of 50 thousand acres of land to grow only palm oil trees. The company was exempted from all import and export duties and fiscal obligations to the government of Cameroon for 99 years.

Sustainable palm oil production can lift communities out of poverty however; many villages such as the villages of Talangaye, Ebanga, Nguti and Sikam have lost almost millions of acres of ancestral lands claimed by Herakles Farms Sithe Global-Sustainable Oils. Herakles Farms has claimed that the land targeted for its plantation consists primarily of fragmented and degraded landscape. The Congo basin is the 2nd largest rainforest in the world, rainforests in Africa are found in West Africa and West-Central Africa.

Africa's rainforests are found in the Congo river basin and are being cleared at an alarming rate for minerals, rubber, palm oil and wood.

The gorilla is probably the most well-known resident of the rainforest, but poaching and deforestation have greatly reduced their numbers. Rainforests cover only a small part of the earth's surface about 6 percent, yet they are home to over half the species of plants and animals in the world.

Profits over nature
Profits over nature

The Congo basin is the 2nd largest rainforest in the world covering seven African countries, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and small areas of Nigeria and Angola with about half lying within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Almost 80 percent of Africa’s rainforest is in the Congo Basin covering 1.3 million square miles, four times the size of Spain. The Congo basin is on both sides of the Equator in west-central Africa. Rainforests in Africa are found in West Africa and West-Central Africa.

Rainforests are the biodiverse; rainforests containing the greatest diversity of life on Earth. Rainforests contain hundreds of species of birds, elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas. The three most forest-rich countries of Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia account for 57 percent of the total forest area.

The Congo basin is the 2nd largest rainforest in the world
The Congo basin is the 2nd largest rainforest in the world 

The gorilla is probably the most well-known resident of the rainforest, but poaching and deforestation have greatly reduced their numbers. The rainforest supports thousands plant species but among the best known are the oil palm and the mahogany tree. Oil palms account for approximately 14 percent of the world's plant-based oils such as vegetable oil found in local supermarkets.

The Congo Basin forests are a lifeline for more than 60 million people providing food and income for many remote communities, storing huge amounts of carbon, supporting unique ecosystems and regulating the flow of the major rivers across Central Africa. Yet the Congo's forests are being cleared at an alarming rate amid global demand for minerals, energy and wood resources from Africa. Research into the issues facing the Congo Basin is more critical than ever.

The largest rainforests in the world come in two forms: tropical and temperate. Most, but not all, of the forests in the three rainforest basins are classified as dense humid forests, more commonly known as tropical rainforests. The three major rainforest basins and countries: Amazon Basin. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

The three regions also contain some important areas of flooded forests including mangroves and some tropical dry forests. Around one-fifth of all forests are classified as mosaic a mixture of forest and other land, where forest patches are fragmented and difficult to classify separately. Primary forests and other naturally regenerated forests dominate, constituting 98 percent of all forests.

Congo Basin African countries include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe. Southeast Asia forests countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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