Africa’s Ambitious Great Green Wall
Humanity’s most daring project is the Great Green Wall in response to the global climate disaster. From Senegal to Djibouti, it’s best imagined as a “wall of trees.”
Africa is dealing with a major issue known as “desertification.” That is a condition that affects 40% of Africa’s population. As a result of desertification, the land becomes unfit for farming, resulting in widespread poverty and famine.
The goal of the Green Wall is to create a real “wall of trees” in these areas to prevent future desertification. Replanting native trees and plants that can endure the dry environment.
Instead, the Great Green Wall is a developing green corridor restoring damaged landscapes, increasing climate resilience, food security, and work opportunities for the millions of people who live along its path.
The modernized green Wall has subsequently grown into a program that promotes water collection techniques, greenery protection, and enhancing indigenous land use skills, creating a mosaic of green and productive landscapes throughout North Africa.
What is the Aim of this Project?
The African Union oversees this initiative. In 2007, it was first released. The initiative’s goal is to repair and manage land in the Sahara-Sahel region sustainably.
The “Great Green Wall” proposal in Africa is an 8,000-kilometer tree-line that would keep the Sahara from spreading southward. It stretches 8,000-kilometers from Senegal on the Atlantic coast to Eritrea on the Red Sea coast and is 15 kilometers wide. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal are part of the Wall’sWall’s route. As a result, this expansion project affects seven out of ten UNISS nations in the Sahel.
How Did the Idea Come Up?
The biggest desert on the planet is expanding. The Sahara Desert has grown by more than 10% in the previous century, presently comprising 11 nations in northern Africa and covering more than 3.3 million square miles (8.6 million square kilometers).
The Sahel is a semi-arid area. It is most affected because it functions as a buffer zone immediately south of the desert. Water, which is already limited, is becoming much more so. Food insecurity is caused by declining soil quality and a lack of vegetation. According to the United Nations, around 135 million people rely on these damaged lands.
The African Union initiated an ambitious strategy in 2007 to aid in the containment of the hot sands and the protection of the Sahelian people. The Great Green Wall effort, which will restore 100 million hectares of land between Senegal and Djibouti in the next decade, will create a 15-kilometer-wide (9-mile) and 8,000 kilometer-long (5,000-mile) patchwork of trees, vegetation, grasslands, and plants between Senegal and Djibouti.
How Much Will ‘Building the Wall’ Cost?
The project’s budget is $2 billion. It is primarily due to World Bank co-financing and African Union-facilitated collaborations. It guarantees that participating nations have the financial resources to complete the project.
Is the Great Green Wall getting any financial assistance?
The project previously suffered from limited and unreliable finance, received a huge boost in January when France pledged $14 billion in new investment.
Nearly half of the $33 billion was contributed by the World Bank and other contributors. According to the United Nations, it is required to meet the 2030 target.
The WallWall will stretch more than three times the length of the Great Barrier Reef, which is presently the world’s biggest living structure.
How Long will the Wall be Built?
The effort began with pilot operations spanning 15 kilometers in each member state’s intervention region.
Beyond its original objectives, the effort has expanded into a fully integrated ecosystem management method to rehabilitate 100 million hectares of presently degraded land, sequestering 250 million tons of CO2 and creating 10 million green employment.
As of March 2019, 15% of the WallWall had been completed, with notable gains in Nigeria, Senegal, and Ethiopia. However, there is a long journey to go. The deadline is eight years away. The Great Green Wall has barely reached 4% of the projected area by September 2020, with just 4 million hectares (9.8 million acres) planted. Ethiopia has had the most success, planting 5.5 billion seedlings, whereas Chad has only grown 1.1 million.
The Difficulties of this Project
The spread of desert sands in Mauritania is endangering homes and crop areas. So people are creating a “Great Green Wall” to slow the process of spreading sands. The initiative’s goal, which began in 2007, is to build a green wall over the enormous Sahel area.
The absence of rain is one of the issues. To tackle the difficulties, local farmers have devised various ways and solutions. So yet, just roughly 4% of the Great Green Wall’s initial aim has been accomplished.
With time running out, the authorities have shifted their focus to community-based agricultural and environmental programs.
Another big problem is ensuring that the newly planted trees survive. A few of the difficulties are difficult terrain, coordination among a dozen African nations, and maintaining the flow of finance.
The continuing new coronavirus pandemic has hindered project progress, and officials are attempting to incorporate viral outbreaks as a component of the Green Wall.
The Good Side of this Project
The WallWall has the potential to have a significant socioeconomic impact on Sahelian populations already battered by violence, drought, terrorism, food scarcity, and other recurring calamities.
The effort will help communities cultivate fertile land, expand economic possibilities, and improve food security by harvesting food from forests or growing climate-smart crops. It is a textbook example of a nature-based solution that transforms forest ecosystems into a crucial lever for human well-being sustainably and cost-effectively.
Nearly 120 000 farming employment were generated due to the Great Green Wall program.
Between 2007 and 2018, more than 20 million hectares of land were recovered through greening degraded land, resulting in more than 350,000 employment and 90 million dollars in revenue.
The project’s green employment, which includes 120,000 jobs tied to agriculture operations, is helping to reduce poverty in the region to some extent. In addition, more than 220,000 individuals received training on how to produce agro-pastoral and non-timber products sustainably.
People have noticed an increase of indigenous animals that haven’t been seen in 50 years in that area.
Many young people are now helping to plant and safeguard new trees as the Great Green Wall Initiative progresses. They remain in their communities because they see that the land’s arability is returning. They offer an essential service to the community by assisting with this project.
One of the most impressive effects is that once done. It will serve as a clear example. The program has the potential to become a global and African light of sustainability, effecting a much-needed paradigm shift in how humanity interacts with the environment.
It brings with it the mobilization of green and climate financing, the creation of creative methods like agroforestry, and many more instances of how to harness nature’s power for humanity.
The initiative might bring peace, wealth, and sustainability to an area ravaged by war and forced migration, frequently sparked by disputes over precious natural resources. With sufficient backing, African countries have a fantastic chance to show the rest of the world how man and nature can collaborate to address some of our generation’s most pressing problems.
The Sahel will benefit from planting 100 million hectares of trees, which will reduce average summer temperatures over most of northern Africa and into the Mediterranean.
Droughts, loss of fertile land, over-farming, and unsustainable land management methods have contributed to declining soil fertility.
The massive green WallWall will be a “game-changer.” To reach the 2030 deadline, the project will need to finish 80% of the remaining work in the next eight years, necessitating the restoration of 8.2 million hectares of land per year at 4.3 billion dollars.
Hopefully, the great green WallWall will assist Africa in making beneficial social and environmental improvements in the following years.