The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged a $6.5 billion support for the Sahel region’s Great Green Wall initiative for a period of five years.
At the One Planet Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina, said the fund will be made available through a range of programmes.
Addressing the summit virtually from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Adesina said, ‘The Great Green Wall is part of Africa’s environmental defence system, a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation’.
Development Diaries understands that The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km swathe of trees and other vegetation across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.
The Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of people in the region are already facing its devastating impact.
Some of the consequences include persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe.
‘The Great Green Wall is part of Africa’s environmental defence system – a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation’, Adesina said.
‘The future of the Sahel region depends on the Great Green Wall. Without the Great Green Wall, the Sahel region, as we know it, may disappear’.
But it is understood that a lack of finance has been the project’s major constraint to realising its goal of creating ten million jobs, sequestering 250 million tonnes of carbon and restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land in the 11 countries of the Sahel-Sahara region.
‘The Great Green Wall is a wall worth building. A wall that brings people together, not one that pulls them apart’, he said.
‘A wall that insulates, not one that isolates. A wall that protects our collective existence. A wall for the environment – a wall for the planet’.
Meanwhile, the bank has launched a $20 billion Desert-to-Power project to build the largest solar zone in the world in the Sahel.
‘This will provide electricity for 250 million people and help to protect the Great Green Wall’, Adesina also said.
‘If there is no access to energy, the Great Green Wall will be no more than trees waiting to be turned into charcoal’.
The project, it was gathered, will provide electricity to 250 million people in 11 Sahel countries and help protect the Great Green Wall.
Desert-to-Power aims to make available two billion dollars for identified project opportunities for the Great Green Wall Initiative, according to Adesina.
The annual One Planet Summit brings together political leaders, private sector decision makers, foundations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and citizens to identify and accelerate funding for climate, biodiversity and ocean solutions.
Photo source: Ecofin Agency