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Africa's Great Green Wall

Senegalese women planting treesThe Great Green Wall is a project to halt desertification in the Sahel region of Africa. Launched in 2007 by the African Union, the Wall will eventually consist of a continuous ribbon, 15 kilometres (9 miles), wide of newly-planted trees stretching 7750 kilometres (4800 miles) from coast to coast, across 11 African countries from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east. The aim is to prevent the gradual spread of the Sahara Desert southwards (about 250 kilometres, or 155 miles, of land to the south has been lost to desert since 1900) and restore prosperity to the Sahel.



A map of the Sahel region in Africa, and the planned line of the Great Green Wall snaking across it. The Sahel is a belt up to...Read More >>A map of the Sahel region in Africa, and the planned line of the Great Green Wall snaking across it. The Sahel is a belt up to 1000 km (620 miles) wide that spans the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
Tree planting project near Hawassa, Ethiopia

Project aims

Through planting trees and crops, the $8-billion Great Green Wall project intends to restore 100 million hectares (250 million acres) of "degraded" land by 2030. It is hoped up to 10 million new jobs will be created and the trend of people migrating away from the Sahel region reversed. The Great Green Wall will also play an important role in combating global warming: serving as a carbon sink, some 250 million tons of carbon will be removed from the atmosphere.
A satellite image showing the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in west Africa. Vegetated land covers the lower part of the...Read More >>A satellite image showing the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in west Africa. Vegetated land covers the lower part of the image. Signs of land degradation can be seen in the centre of the image: the lighter areas around villages and along river valleys, where overgrazing has turned the land to desert scrub. The image shows parts of three African countries: Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Sahel

Once complete, the Great Green Wall will, some say, become the largest living structure on the planet—several times the size of the Great Barrier Reef, which is more than 2000 km (1200 miles) long.

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