Finding solutions for the growing desertification has become a key goal for many concerned partners and governments in Africa. It is estimated that 60 million people from sub-Saharan Africa would have to migrate by 2020 because of the effects of growing desertification. In response to this threat of desertification, an 8-billion-dollar concept was conceptualized.
The Great Green Wall initiative though expensive envisions 4000 kilometers of trees spanning the edges of the Sahara from the south of the Sahara, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in the east, all the way across the continent to Dakar, Senegal, in the west.
The idea was conceptualized as a programming tool for rural development, to strengthen the resilience of the region’s people and natural systems with sound ecosystem management, the protection of rural heritage, and the improvement of the living conditions of the local population.
It is believed that not only will this band of trees avert the looming migration crisis, but it will also provide ways for the people in this region to improve the lives of their children and generations to come. In places where it has already been effected successfully, one can already see how it has enhanced the lives of the populations benefitting from it. In other areas, it has become a conversation on how to rehabilitate degraded land and combat desertification.
The current migration crisis is directly fueled by droughts and climate change, a situation forecasted to get worse unless drastic measures are taken. Some scientists are nonetheless not convinced that this wall will avert the problem, they argue that better livelihoods would give the affected people the much-needed money to migrate. They believe it would spur them and not deter them.
Despite these arguments, the Great Green Wall project is good for Africa. The Sahel zone is the transition between the Sahara in the north and the African savannas in the south and includes parts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.
The Great Green Wall project accomplishes several important roles in the region such as growing economic development, promoting environmental protection, against desertification, and supporting political stability while also stopping desertification.
This is not all, the green wall will also protect water sources, support local economic development while providing economic avenues for communities to be self-sufficient. Fighting poverty in this way not only benefits these communities now but for decades to come while protecting the environment.