The goal of the conference is to address endangered species trafficking, especially the illegal ivory and horn trade threatening the survival of elephants and rhinos. Tigers, highly valued for their paws and skins, are also a focus of the meeting. Speaking to BBC Radio 5, UK foreign secretary William Hague said that the summit will address a "great moral cause."
"This conference is very important, and I hope it will be a turning point," said Hague. "But if it's a turning point, there's still going to be a lot more work needed after it. This has to be an African-led solution that is owned by African states, which we support."
The summit comes just after U.S. President Obama announced a ban on ivory trade within the country and a renewed commitment to ending wildlife trafficking.