The Duke of Cambridge is to renew his love of Africa with a conservation-led visit to the continent later this month.
William announced he will be making a working visit to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya later this month during his first speech as patron of the Royal African Society (RAS).
William, who took over the role from the Queen in December 2016, told a central London reception for the RAS: “Africa’s wildlife is suffering as well as its people.
“Like so many others, I am deeply saddened by the numbers of elephant, rhino and pangolin who have been illegally slaughtered for their tusks, horns and scales. But the illegal wildlife trade also has a devastating human impact.
“Too many brave rangers are tragically killed each year by poachers. Communities see their tourist livelihoods threatened. And the proceeds of the illegal wildlife trade fund broader criminal networks and threaten security.
“This is why I am committed to doing what I can to help end this terrible, global crime. This will be a particular focus of my upcoming visit to Africa, and of course the conference on the illegal wildlife trade taking place here in London in October.”
Dates of the visit have yet to be announced.
The Queen had been the RAS patron for 64 years.
William recalled how he first “fell in love” with Africa when he spent time in Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania as a teenager.
He said: “Africa is both the oldest and the youngest continent in the world, being both the birthplace of humankind and the continent with the youngest population.
“My patronage of the Royal African Society is an honour and I will certainly continue to be a passionate advocate for Africa here in the UK.”
William described the futures of Britain and Africa as being “inextricably intertwined” and stated that African communities have “a long history in Britain.”
He also spoke of job creation, generating investment, improving security, harnessing new technology, tackling corruption, managing urbanisation, and adapting to social and environmental change as some of the challenges which Africa faces.
William earlier took part in a private roundtable with experts from the fields of business and academia that touched on the opportunities and challenges faced in modern-day Africa.
Reception guests included people from various sectors including academia, business, politics, culture, the arts and education – to reflect the many areas in which the RAS works.
The RAS aims to promote Africa in business, politics, culture and academia and to foster better understanding and strong relationships between Britain, Africa and the world.
It is seen as a way for people to connect, celebrate and engage critically with a wide range of topics and ideas about Africa today.