Communities in sub-Saharan Africa to build a “Green Wall” that will contribute to their sustainable future.
The $8bn project, known as The Great Green Wall, aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and in the process transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel.
The Sahel continues to suffer from widespread drought, villages have been deserted and the ecosystem is threatened. To fight desertification, 11 African countries – including Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Soudan came together in 2004 to launch a solution to this major ecological challenge – The Great Green Wall.
The goal is to create a multi-species belt of vegetation which will cross the African continent from Dakar to Djibouti, over 8,000 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres in width.
A number of native species such as the desert date tree and other native species such as Acacia or Jujube have been selected as they are suited to the semi-arid climate and will fill in this Green Wall. These species provide a vegetation-based cover and a sustainable source of food and income for local populations.
More than 20 countries across Africa’s Sahel region are taking part in The Great Green Wall initiative. Since launching in 2007, the initiative has boosted food security and resilience to climate change, whilst creating thousands of jobs for the many communities who live along its path, especially women and young people.
By 2030, the ambition is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create a minimum of 350,000 jobs in rural areas.
Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3x the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea