Jul 7, 2023, 10:29am EDT
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The struggling Great Green Wall Project seeks private sector funds

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo

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The News

Organizers behind the Great Green Wall project — which aims to reforest 100 million hectares of degraded land stretching from Senegal to Djibouti by 2030 — are seeking corporate investors after public funding has slowed.

The project has faced hurdles since its 2007 launch, and only 20 million hectares of the green belt have have materialized.

We’ve curated thoughtful analysis on the many challenges facing the world’s most ambitious environmental project.

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  • While many countries in Africa look towards reforestation, Kenya recently repealed a six-year ban on logging, despite the lack of reforms in the “corrupt” agency responsible for forests and logging licenses. The move comes at the wrong time, Anthony Langat argues in Semafor’s Africa newsletter, as the the country could be handing over its forests to an “inept institution.”
  • Even proponents of the Great Green Wall project believe that very little progress has been made in the 15 years since its inception. There are small success stories though: In Senegal, a 1,000-hectare reserve has seen migratory birds, tortoises, and monkeys returning. Local farmers are paid for their work in the reforested area, and the project has offered some relief for nearby villages struggling with poor economies. — African Business
  • Reforestation is being embraced around the world as a climate change-fighting measure, with projects to add tree cover in major economies around the world. There are issues with this plan, however: Non-native trees can disrupt existing biodiversity, and local livelihoods. — The Guardian
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Know More

Access to funding has been a struggle since the project began. Two years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron promised €14 billion ($15.2 billion) in additional funding to the project, but that money has yet to materialize. Meanwhile, every country involved in the project has its own budget, and it is unclear what has been spent so far by each of them.

As the African continent loses its arable land to climate change, the wall would offer a sustainable way to regenerate agroforestry and useable parklands.