The Great Green Wall of Africa is a determined effort to plant a stretch of trees across the continent, covering the whole Sahel-Saharan region from Senegal (West Africa) to Ethiopia (East Africa). It was a plan endorsed by the African Union in 2007 and if it fully comes to fruition, it will become the world's largest living structure.
Desertification has been showing no signs of relenting and in attempts to mitigate this, it is hoped that the great green wall of Africa will be effective. The incessant poverty and debilitating insecurity in the region is strongly attributed to the ramifications of desertification. The effects of climatic change have had devastating effects. The productive landscapes in the Sahel region will transform the lives of millions.
This pioneering green movement is aimed at covering 8,000 km with natural wonder covering the entire width of Africa. It is currently 15% underway. The overall mission is to bring life back to Africa's massively degraded landscapes. Climate change has brought adverse effects with the most notable being drought and famine. These breed unprecedented levels of conflict and migration.
The great green wall project is centered in Africa's Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert.
So far, the project has received $4 billion and encompasses concerted effort from 21 African countries. If the project is fully completed, it will restore 50 million hectares of land, provide food security for 20 million people and create 350,000 jobs. Halting the advancement of the desert is at the fore of this ambitious project.
But will the project bring about the intended results? This question is relevant in the face of Africa's growing energy needs - and in this regard, the worry is about the unending need for timber. Will the trees be saved from this need of timber?
The sustainability of this program hinges on the collaborative efforts brought together by the countries partaking in this. There is a need for a deep commitment to seeing the project flourish. That it will change the lives of the communities in the Sahel region is not a remote possibility - provided that the project sees completion.
The global climate is metamorphosing into extremities in almost every region, and Africa's great green wall will be a blessing to the world.
The world should be including more of reforestation policies in governance frameworks.
Header image credit - Face2face Africa