One of the biggest project worldwide to fight climate change: the African Great Green Wall

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

The African Great Green Wall is a campaign by African countries with the goal of greening the Sahel with vegetation, farmland and trees. As a natural approach, its goal is to grow into the world’s largest living structure while solving a variety of environmental issues. 

The African Great Green Wall is a project in which twenty-six countries are constructing a connection of trees and other plants that is cross-continental on a barren territory. As an added bonus, it is revitalizing Africa’s once-deserted landscapes and restoring the continent’s territory for human use. 

What is the African Great Green Wall about?

In the Sahel region of Africa, one of the poorest places on Earth, near the southern edge of the Sahara. When it comes to the effects of climate change, the Sahel is ground zero. And millions of residents are now feeling the full force of these consequences. Consequences include widespread starvation, wars over decreasing natural resources, and huge migration to Europe. 

This enormous project has expanded much beyond its initial conception of a band of trees stretching across the globe for 8,000 km. Based on the most current assessment, the Great Green Wall has successfully repaired 18 Mha of land when it first began its trek through Africa in 2007, providing millions of people with healthy food and environmentally friendly employment. This makes it serve as a model of sustainable and bio-diverse managed land.

The Great Green Wall plans to provide 10 million jobs for the world’s poorest people by 2030. This, in addition to restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land.

Benefits of the African Great Green wall

More carbon is stored as woody biomass and in soils thanks to the 18 Mha (Millions of Hectares) of land that has been recovered in the Sahel. By 2030, the Great Green Wall has the potential to store 313 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent at current rates.

The environmental, social, and economic benefits provided by the Great Green Wall are extensive. They are affecting 15 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It offers to address fundamental concerns of our day, including migration, starvation, drought, and climate change, through large-scale investments. The benefits include:

1. Employment opportunities in agriculture 

About 335,000 people now have jobs thanks in part to the African Great Green Wall’s revitalization of the agricultural sector. Some of these jobs are even directly related to land restoration. As a result of gender parity, women can access previously unavailable resources.

2. Development of new revenue sources

It is projected in the current study that the African Great Green Wall generated an additional $90 million in income since its commencement in 2007. This is the result of productive endeavors like the trade of non-timber forest goods. It is also a way to help out local shops and companies of all kinds.

3. Enhanced sustainable livelihoods for rural areas

There has been an increase in water accessibility and soil fertility as a result of land restoration activities. This has encouraged the comeback of small farmers to the area.

TREE Aid estimates that 9M people in rural areas would benefit from this level of land restoration, giving them the opportunity to cultivate their own food

As an added bonus, it contributes to bolstering water security. Which means fewer women and girls will have to devote their days to arduous chores like collecting water for their households.

4. Health and well-being improvement

When these economies are revitalized, it benefits the overall health and happiness of the surrounding community. Around half a million people will directly benefit from the African Great Green Wall. And another 10.2 million will reap the rewards of the initiative through its ripple effect on the rest of the continent.

5. Restoration of degraded landscape

To put it another way, it helps rehabilitate degraded landscapes and boost the ecological resilience of the Sahel’s production landscape and natural capital.

The African Great Green Wall, all the future positive achievements

The success of the Great Green Wall is crucial to accomplishing both of these objectives. A positive outcome would show politicians and investors that sustainable development is achievable through nature-based solutions.

Agencies at the international level are in charge of implementing the Great Green Wall. Communities and their unique ecosystems will be taken into account while designing each project. 

Under the guidance of national governments, local authorities will collaborate on the development of specific interventions and activities for each community. The African Great Green Wall is a game-changing, innovative, project that demonstrates the interconnectedness of security, migration, alleviation, food security, drought, and land management.

Read also: Green jobs of the future, the new professions to tackle climate change

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