Placing Economic Value on Africa’s Natural Resources

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 2, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ African Ministers and Experts Spotlight Efforts to Incorporate Natural Wealth Accounting in Development Planning



Press conference on “Valuation and Accounting of Natural Capital for Green Economy (VANTAGE)” in Africa meeting


Wednesday, 4 December 10:30 a.m.



Press Room, UN Compound, Gigiri



Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary at the Presidency, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Kenya

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director

Partha Dasgupta, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge


Natural capital is a critical asset, especially for low-income countries where it makes up around 36 per cent of total wealth, according to World Bank estimates. For these countries, especially in Africa, livelihoods depend directly on healthy ecosystems.


Incorporating natural capital into national accounts can support better decisions for inclusive development.


Natural capital is not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much ecosystem services contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.


Natural capital accounting can provide detailed statistics for better management of the economy.


For example, land and water accounts can help countries interested in increasing hydro-power capacity to assess the value of competing land uses and the optimal way to meet this goal.


Ecosystem accounts can help biodiversity-rich countries design a management strategy that balances tradeoffs among ecotourism, agriculture, subsistence livelihoods, and ecosystem services like flood protection and groundwater recharge.


The international VANTAGE conference – which will take place in Nairobi from 3 to 4 December 2013 – will showcase successful efforts by countries and organizations to value and account for natural capital.

Such pioneering initiatives go beyond the traditional growth and development measurements such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contribute to building inclusive green economies.

More than 100 participants will take part in the conference, including 5 African ministers and 3 deputy ministers.

The expected outcome document will chart the way forward for the VANTAGE programme, including ways it can support governments in incorporating natural resource accounting in their national wealth indicators.



United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

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