Gradual deterioration of the environment is one of the biggest challenges that Africa has to face. Threats with the most significant impact are droughts and constant desertification. Fertile green areas have been gradually changing into a barren and dead desert since the 1970s, and poor land management, as well as continued population growth, have helped its spread. The “Great Green Wall” project represents one of the hopes for improving the environment.

Great Green Wall Project

It is a project focusing on the extensive planting of trees. More than 20 African nations have come together to realise the project, hoping to help mitigate the damage caused by environmental changes. After more than a decade of great effort, the project has proven to be very successful, also due to the help of international partners. The entire green wall has reached an incredible length of about 6,000 miles and stretches along the southern edge of the Sahara (or Sahel region).

Hope for the Sahel region

Monique Barbut, who until recently was the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, noted:

The Sahel region is one of the aridest and most vulnerable places on earth. Food, water and economic opportunities are often scarce. The local population is growing rapidly, and surviving people already face difficult choices every day. If climate change and land degradation continue at the current rate, vulnerable communities could be forced to make some disastrous choices.”

Many African leaders have realised the problem, and plans for creating the Great Green Wall began already in 2007. Billions of US dollars have been invested in the project since its inception, hoping to build a “natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa” that would significantly improve the living conditions of local people. The wall shall also help to save the local vulnerable rural economy, restore farmland, increase population incomes, and grow food for future generations.

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