Africa’s Great Green Wall is an ambitious project started in 2007 with the objective of reversing land degradation in the Mother Continent.  The Great Green Wall is a vision to turn the tide of desertification by planting a wall of trees across the African Sahel, protecting an area as large as Mexico.

Back in the 1970s, the Sahel region used to be greener, with rich vegetation. This part of Africa has since been degraded due to population growth, deforestation, unsustainable land management, and climate change.

By planting a continuous strip of trees of 15 kilometers wide and 8000 kilometers long across the entire width of Africa through international partnerships, the project aims to stop the desert from spreading and secure food, clean water and energy as well as employment for local communities.

According to Over-View, if effective, the project will be one of the most sustainable global initiatives yet, absorbing 250 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Moreover, by actively involving communities in regaining fertile land, 10 million green jobs are expected to be created by 2030.

The Great Green Wall Accelerator Project

Although massive efforts have been already made to plant millions of trees, the project was still only 15% completed in March, 2019. And with the pandemics refocusing international budgets, the planting of trees and all the benefits associated with the efforts, begun to slow down or even stagnate in some countries.

Africa desert trees

Nevertheless, the intervention areas for the project are impressive in length, as presented by the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification):

countries Great Green Wall
The 11 Countries included in the Great Green Wall Project and the area of intervention in 2020:  source UNCCD

In January 2021, during the One Planet Summit, world leaders announced the beginning of a new stage in the African forestation efforts. The Great Green Wall Accelerator Project (GGWA) – is a two-year, multi-country concentrated initiative to support and accelerate the World Bank’s ongoing commitment to help African countries establish the Great Green Wall initiative.

African communities planting tree seeds for the Great Green Wall Project. Photo credits: Great Green Wall/In-Depth News

The Great Green Wall Accelerator Project aims to bring together stakeholders in order to ensure that the initial objectives are met. More than $19 billion have been raised internationally for this initiative.

Some of the benefits of the project so far include old dry wells having water again, a halt in the migration of the population and even more children attending school thanks to the economic opportunities of the Wall. Here is a short BBC video explaining some of the massive positive changes:

There are many world wonders, but the Great Green Wall will be unique and everyone can be a part of its history. Together, we can change the future of African communities in the Sahel. Dr. Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Here’s to a more positive outlook on the world to come. And also to the virtue of patience that comes with long term environmental strategies. Have you heard about this project? Do you believe its objectives will be met?


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