Senegal President Wade Describes Great Green Wall Project
Speaking at the FAO conference in Rome,
Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal,
described an ambitious project which the sahelo-saharan nations
have launched in Africa to prevent the spread of desertification.
The project, called the "Great Green Wall" is a continental
effort coordinated by Senegal in relation to the Commission of
the African Union.
As President Wade put it: "This project consists in planting
trees over a distance of 7000 km from Dakar to Djibouti to
constitute a 5 km wide green strip across the desert to stop any
further progress of desertification process. With the
regeneration of biodiversity, we plan to give our planet a new
`green lung' and contribute thus to the fight against climatic
changes.... We have already identified the course of the Great
Green Wall and selected the tree species to be planted according
to climatic zones, each country crossed by the Great Wall being
responsible for its edification within its borders.
"Alongside of the Great Green Wall we are planning to build
water capture basins. The process consists in collecting rain
water during the rainy season at the lowest point of each village
by compacting the ground as a basin. Every year during the rainy
season we lose important quantities of water by evaporation,
infiltration underground, or running off to the ocean. With water
capture basins these resources are valorized to enable farmers in
rural ares to grow food all year long, develop fish farming and
satisfy their nutritional needs and even export market garden
Wade noted that "the investment for a water retention basin
is around $140,000. We have built more than 200 in Senegal and
the life of beneficiary populations has improved qualitatively."