ADDIS ABEBA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank have pledged to mobilize 11.5 billion US dollars in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall, an initiative aims to combat desertification in the region.
The announcement was made on Monday at the 4th One Planet Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron virtually.
Endorsed by the African Union in 2007, the Great Green Wall is Africa’s flagship initiative to restore the degraded lands across 11 African countries on a swathe of land stretching from Senegal to Djibouti and Eritrea.
The plan also envisages helping inhabitants produce adequate food, create jobs and promote peace across the area.
“Restoring natural ecosystems in the drylands of Africa benefits both people and the planet,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
During Monday’s virtual meeting, the Initiative received a major boost from various global and regional financial institutions including the African Development Bank.
The Bank pledged to assist in mobilizing up to $6.5 billion over five years, to advance the landmark initiative.
“As we rebuild from the coronavirus and its impacts on our world, we must recalibrate growth. We must prioritize growth that protects the environment and biodiversity, and we must de-prioritize 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,” he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron, host of the meeting, 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.
During the meeting, the World Bank has also announced its plan to invest over $5 billion over the next five years.
Africa’s Great Green Wall Initiative aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, create 10 million green jobs and sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon-equivalent.