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An African initiative to plant a stretch of trees across the continent, dubbed the Great Green Wall, is to become the world’s largest living structure upon completion.
The wall, proposed by the African Union back in 2007, will span from east to west, located just under the southern edge of the Sahara desert.
It is estimated to be three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef once finished, measuring a staggering 8,000 km.
The Great Green Wall Initiative for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) has since received more than $4 billion in funding and attracted the involvement of 21 African countries.
According to CNN, the project aims to ‘restore 50 million hectares of land, provide food security for 20 million people, create 350,000 jobs, and sequester 250 million tons of carbon’.
‘The frontline of climate change’
“More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences,” the initiative’s website states.
“Yet, communities from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back… Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs, and stability to people’s lives.”
The GGWSSI claimed that 15 percent of trees had been planted in 2016 – restoring four million hectares of land.