By CHIKA OKEKE
CHIKA OKEKE examines attempts by governments and stakeholders in the African region to protect its landmass from mind boggling desertification. The Sahel is the eco-climatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa, between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of northern Africa, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. With an estimated landmass of 3.053 million km², the countries under the Sahel are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon and Central African Republic (CAR). Also, the Horn of Africa is a peninsula in Northeast Africa that extended hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. With an estimated population of over 122. 7 million and 1.883 million km² land mass, the area is the easternmost projection of the African continent.
The countries and territories under the Horn of Africa are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Regrettably, the Sahel and Horn Of Africa are marred by developmental challenges and mostly degraded, as major part of the region is surrounded with desert or dry lands. Given its geographical location, the Sahel and Horn Of Africa are threatened by desertification. Aside desertification, the region has also been affected with severe drought even as the recent climate change problems also aggravated desertification. Since the low income earners heavily depended on natural resources for survival, drought has further worsened their livelihood conditions. In Nigeria, desertification remains a major challenge to national development especially in the northern parts of the country.