The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to mobilize $6.5 billion in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall, a flagship initiative led by the African Union to combat increasing desertification in the region, it said in a statement.
The announcement was made on Monday at the 4th One Planet Summit hosted by France virtually.
The Great Green Wall’s plan is to plant an 8,000 km long and 15 km wide mosaic of trees, grasslands, vegetation and plants across Africa’s Sahara and Sahel that can restore the degraded lands and help the region’s inhabitants produce adequate food, create jobs and promote peace across North and West Africa.
“As we rebuild from the coronavirus and its impacts on our world, we must recalibrate growth. We must prioritise growth that protects the environment and biodiversity, and we must de-prioritise growth that compromises our common goals,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.
Addressing the summit from the West African city of Abidjan, Adesina shared that the project “is part of Africa’s environmental defence system— a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation. 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.”
“The Great Green Wall is a wall worth building. A wall that brings people together, not one that pulls them apart. 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,” he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron praised the initiative. In a tweet he said, One Planet Summit actors are committed to mobilize $14.3 billion to accelerate the project.
“The Great Green Wall is an African initiative to green the Sahel. It is a chance for ecology, for biodiversity, for agriculture and populations,” he said.