Pan-African effort to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara desert


Photo credit: AFK Insider


The ‘Great Green Wall’ Of Africa: An Ambitious Plan To Beat Back The Sahara Desert

By Kevin Mwanza

Some 11 African countries are making headway in their ambitious pan-African effort to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara desert, the world largest, and beat back its spread into more arable land southwards.

The plan dubbed the ‘Great Green Wall’ seeks to counter the spread of Sahara Desert in Africa was launched in 2007 and was estimated to cost more than $2 billion up to completion.

It has already made considerable step with several nations involved in the intitiative, including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal, experiencing environmental and employment boom.

In Senegal, 11 million trees have been planted while in neighboring Nigeria, the project has created 20,000 jobs in rural parts of the West African nation, Positive.News reported.

At least two million seedlings have been planted in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, leading to restoration of 2,500 hectares of land.

The project will save at least 60 million people from leaving their homesteads, and social implications of the displacement such as joining extremist groups in the region, such as Boko Haram.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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