Over the next five years, African Development Bank (AfDB) will be supporting Africa’s pilot anti-desertification and climate change project, the Great Green Wall Initiative, with $6.5 billion.
AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina, said so at the One Planet Summit, a series of extraordinary world climate summits first announced by French President, Emmanuel Macron, in 2017.
Adesina says the fund will be drawn from both internal and external sources, including the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), among others.
According to him, “I am, therefore, pleased to announce that the African Development Bank will mobilise 6.5 billion dollars in support of the Great Green Wall over the next five years. Without the Great Green Wall, in the face of climate change and desertification, the Sahel may disappear.
“By building the Great Green Wall, we will secure the Sahel, reduce climate change, reduce migration and improve the lives of people.”
With the Bank’s pledge, the African lender now joins a list of other institutions and world governments that have pledged over $14 billion in financial support to the initiative.
The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel (or the Great Green Wall for short) is Africa’s flagship initiative led by the African Union to combat the increasing desertification in the aforementioned regions. The imitative was birthed in 2017.
Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.
Under the Wall, the plan is to plant about 8,000-kilometre long line of trees, grasslands, vegetation and plants across the Sahara and the Sahel.
Although the Wall started as an idea for a line of trees stretching from the East to West bordering the Saharan Desert, it has now been expanded to include other interventions addressing challenges facing people in the Sahel and the Sahara.
The buffering wall is projected to help maintain the moistness of soils, thereby making room for climate restoration and allowing crops to grow around the trees.
“A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative (the Great Green Wall) is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.
“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.
“Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef”, the Wall website reads.
In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Wall aims to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create 10 million jobs in rural areas by 2030.