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The Great Green Wall of Africa Could Be The Remedy Of The Ever Encroaching Sahara Desert

by Felix Omondi

The Great Green Wall of Africa Could Be The Remedy Of The Ever Encroaching Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world, covering the better part of northern Africa stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west coasts of Senegal to the Red Sea in the eastern shores of Eritrea. Life in this desert is unbearable, during the day it gets very hot. But there is nothing glorified about the heat even though the Germans made scrambled eggs on top of their tanks during the WWII since the sun blazed their tanks so hot that it literally was used as a pan for cooking scrambled eggs.

At night the temperature fall drastically down, you would actually freeze to death. This high fluctuation in temperature is brought about by lack of clouds in the deserts: clouds acts like a blanket reflecting excessive heat into spaces during daytime, while maintaining the warmth from the earth’s surface from being lost out to space at nighttime. Thereby acting as a natural air conditioner for the environment and making life conducive for animals and plants as well as human beings.

The Great Green Wall of Africa Could Be The Remedy Of The Ever Encroaching Sahara Desert

The United Nation raised an alarm about the rate at which the Sahara Desert is growing and thus spreading desertification across Africa. They say that Africa may have just a few decades before this desert engulfs over 75% of arable land in the continent. Hence the idea of build a “Green Front” that will protect parts of Africa yet to be engulfed by the desert was formulated about half a century ago but serious commitment to this initiative has been shown over last ten years. This innovative initiative dubbed the “Great Green Wall of Africa” When completed, the Great Green Wall of Africa will be 4,750 miles long and 9 miles wide starting from western shores of Senegal, through Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and finally reaching the eastern shores of Djibouti. This manmade forest will consist of drought-resistant trees: mainly the acacia trees.

This project has been compared to the Great Wall of China which took more than 1,000 years to build, but the African countries don’t have the luxury of time on their side. Since scientists predict that it is only a matter of a few decades before the Sahara deserts covers 75% of the continents arable land. So far it’s only Senegal that has already planted some 330 miles of the greenery which has so far burdened the Senegalese government more than $6 million since it the project in 2008. There are also some international partners who have already pledged financial support exceeding $3 billion for this monumental defense wall.

The urgency of this initiative can’t be stressed enough since the desert is growing at a very alarming rate. This stretch of forest will prevent windblown sand from the desert from reaching the arable land southwards of the desert and thus avoiding the vegetation found south from being choked.

AtlasObscura says, “Leaders point out that the Great Green Wall is about more than just protection from windblown sand. The project will bring thousands of jobs to impoverished communities, and has already transformed otherwise unusable land into gardens scattered with tree nurseries. The influx of tourists, scientists and medical professionals has also brought attention and resources to a neglected region in which aid is scarce and doctors are not readily available to needy population”. So it would appear that this project would be “killing many birds with one stone”

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