Tuesday, 10 May 2016

‘Great Wall of Africa’ planned to hold back the Sahara

It’s a project to rival the Great Wall of China and Game of Thrones’ formidable barrier that protects the inhabitants of Westeros from the horrors to the north. The Great Green Wall is Africa’s solution to the rapidly expanding Sahara desert. It would eventually see a wall of greenery extending from Senegal on the Atlantic coast to Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. In 2007, the African Union officially launched the project, but it has been mooted for decades, since Richard St. Barbe Baker, a British environmental activist, suggested it back in the 1950s. The aim is to prevent the further degradation of soil and desertification of local communities in 14 countries. The wall, which would be 15 metres deep, forms part of a development programme in sub-Saharan countries which has already exported its ideas to other parts of the world such as Haiti and Fiji (...) The nations involved in building the Great Green Wall are under no illusion that the project is a magic bullet to stop desertification. “Countries like Senegal have replanted a lot, but it gets to a point when that’s not enough,” said Nora Berrahmouni of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), one of the international bodies taking part along with the European Commission and the World Bank.