Cherif RAHMANI (Algeria) : expanding deserts (Google News Alert / AFP)

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Google News Alert for: desertification

AFP – France 24

AFP News brief

Africa’s expanding deserts will drive out millions: minister

“Desertification will drive 65 million Africans to seek refuge in the West, an Algerian minister warned Monday at the opening of a conference on the problem.

Cherif Rahmani, minister for territorial planning, said that by 2025 the number of people living in deserts would have doubled to two billion people, including 750 million in Africa. He called for international cooperation to stop the increasing degradation of land.

It needed 400 million dollars over three or four years to transform a hectare (2.47 acres) of semi-arid land into ground that could be cultivated, he said. “Desertification loses the world economy 48 billion dollars a year, including nine billion in Africa,” said Abdesselam Chelghoum, the general secretary of the Algerian ministry for agriculture and rural development.

The conference on desertification, which was jointly organised by the Algerian parliament and the Pan-African parliament, runs until Wednesday. Participants include representatives from 20 African countries, European deputies and international specialists in the field.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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