By Anupum Pant
The only desert larger than Sahara is a whole continent which is a desert – Antarctica. But Antarctica, unlike Africa’s desert, isn’t becoming bigger every year. It’s only the Sahara among these two which grows as time passes.
So, the expanding Sahara desert poses a great problem for the future generations of the southern nations (Sahel region) towards which it comes creeping. At least the ones just south of the Sahara desert, as the UN suggests, must be ready to face a hard life in the future.
Unless, an extremely ambitious and selfless plan being pushed for the good life of future generations, by a group of eleven African nations becomes a success.
The eleven nations across the African continent which stand to face the peril with a solid plan in place are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
They have all come together and decided to create a massive Great Green Wall of Africa – a 15 km (9 miles) wide wall of man-made forest home to millions of drought resistant trees, stretching across the continent for about 8000 km (~5000 miles)! If complete, this is what it will look like.
Since 2008, after spending about 6 million dollars, the enterprising leaders of Senegal, were able to finish a 330 mile long man-made forest. However in other nations where “short-termism” (to feed the present families) has taken priority over long-term good (of the future generations), the project faces a problem. Other problems like rebel groups, drought and famine doesn’t let this happen very easily.
The world bank has pledged 2 billion dollars for this massive project. If this great African dream does succeed, it will carry a huge lesson for all humans across the world to learn.
I earnestly hope it does succeed.