Roundup: Africa draws inspiration from China to curtail desertification

6th October 2021,

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — China’s experience in reforestation and fighting desertification has injected lots of inspiration into Africa, which needs to curb the alarming expansion of the Sahara desert, Ethiopian experts have said.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently estimated that by 2030, Africa will lose two thirds of its arable land if the march of desertification is not stopped in time.

“African countries have to do strategic interventions and approach to combat desertification, because desertification has become overwhelming, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” Adefris Worku, an Ethiopian forestry expert, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China’s remarkable achievements in successfully restoring its lost lands as part of its massive reforestation endeavors can help African countries realize afforestation ambitions, he said.

According to the expert, Africa can learn from China ranging from the promotion of clean energy, climate financing, sharing of technologies, and knowledge and practices on landscape restoration.

“One of the things that we consider as an opportunity is that China has considered the issue of climate change as a very major agenda, that is really a very good and appreciated development,” Worku said, who works as forestry expert at the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission of Ethiopia.

He said that desertification in Africa is mainly caused by fuelwood collection due to lack of access to energy sources, and China can help African countries to develop clean energy mechanisms.

“Unless and otherwise Ethiopia and the rest of Africa promote the use of clean energy technologies, there is no way that we could stop forest degradation and deforestation,” he said.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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