The Great Green Wall of Africa is a plan to restore a 8,000-kilometre-long stretch of degraded land by growing a ‘Wall of trees stretching across the entire width of the continent from Senegal in West Africa to Djibouti in East Africa.
The project was proposed by two of Africa’s elder statesmen, Nigeria’s then-president Olusegun Obasanjo and Senegal’s former president Abdoulaye Wade.
About The Great Green Wall of Africa
The Great Green Wall was conceived in 2007 by the African Union as a 8,000km (4,350-mile) cross-continental barrier stretching from Senegal to Djibouti that would hold back the deserts of the Sahara and Sahel. The aim is to improve livelihoods in one of the world’s poorest regions, capture carbon dioxide and reduce conflict, terrorism and migration.
It was initially intended to be just a line of trees, stretching east to west, to help tackle the Sahara’s expansion down south. However the project, funded by the African Union, quickly evolved into a tapestry of different environmental interventions, using a range of ecological tools to construct a belt of greenery across the continent. Although trees are still the primary focus, other methods are being used to help restore the land, based on the specific biogeographical needs of an individual area.
A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes as degraded land is being restored at an unprecedented rate, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.
The success of the project has been far greater than initially expected.
The Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration.
African Countries Involved in Building the Great Green Wall of Africa
The Initiative brings together more than 20 African countries, including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, The Gambia and Tunisia.
Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia have so far seen the most significant gains across the Sahel region. Over 17 million trees have been planted in Burkina Faso, equal to an area of about 31,000 acres. Nigeria has seen over 12 million acres of degraded land restored, while Senegal and Ethiopia have had similar levels of success.
By 2030, the ambition of the initiative is to restore 100 million ha of currently degraded land; sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs. This will support communities living along the Wall to:
- Grow fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets
- Grow economic opportunities for the world’s youngest population
- Grow food security for the millions that go hungry every day
- Grow climate resilience in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth
- Grow a new world wonder spanning 8000 km across Africa
The Great Green Wall snakes the Sahel region from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East of Africa.
Several achievements have been recorded in most of the GGW member states, with some countries being more successful than others.
While some ccountries started the implementation of the GGW activities as early as 2008, others joined as late as 2014, when the GGW declaration was ratified.
The total area of the GGW initiative extends to 156 Mha, with the largest intervention zones located in Niger, Mali, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope in the face of one of the biggest challenges of our time – desertification.