Countries in the Sahel region are faced with numerous challenges, mostly attributable to poor climate conditions. The Sahel lies in the southern part of the Sahara desert. It consists of the semi-arid regions of western and north-central Africa, from Senegal to Djibouti. The African Development Bank has supported the states in the region by mobilizing the release funds to curtail their vast requirements. The Great Green Wall, which is currently the major project in the Sahel, aims to aid communities in the areas to learn how to mitigate climate change and improve food security. Recently the President of AfDB also pledged for the release of $6.5 to support the Sahel region.
It was during the One Planet Summit meeting on a Monday when the President of AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, called on the AfDB to release $6.5 billion for the Sahel region’s development. This money could help enhance projects like the Great Green Wall. Mr. Adesina stated that the future of Sahel was dependent on the Great Green Wall. Hence without it, the Sahel may be no more.
The Great Green Wall aims to cultivate 8000 long kilometers and 15 kilometers wide mosaic of trees, grasslands, vegetation, and plants across the Sahara and Sahel to help rehabilitate the degraded lands. The soils become more productive, hence promoting an adequate supply of food and water in the region. Availability of food, water in the area could encourage peace as there will be no inter-ethnic conflicts over scarce resources.
Moreover, the project could create job opportunities for up to 10 million people in the region and provide electricity to hundreds of millions in other countries.
Challenges Facing the Sahel Region
Due to its location, there are no doubt the area experiences too high temperatures. The United Nations cautioned that failure to improve the Sahel’s situation could increase temperatures in the area by about 5 and 3 degrees come 2050. Such high temperatures might not be suitable for the survival of organisms, not even the habitats.
Many people who once lived in the Sahel have fled the region because of the deplorable conditions. According to the United Nations refugee agency, close to 2.7 million people have migrated from their homes in the previous years. The situation in the region deteriorated when Coronavirus hit the globe. This is because the dependency rate surged in the area while the global economy plunged. Therefore, the people in the area did not receive adequate help like they used to.
The rates of insurgency in the region also escalated in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Armed militia groups in these regions are fond of attacking residents rendering the areas unsafe. Due to continued rebel attacks in the area, some people have lost their loved ones, some have escaped from home, some have lost their houses to fire, etc. Generally, the damage has been exceedingly significant, leaving most people in irreversible states. The heads of state in the region have tried teaming up to pursue the terror groups but have not successfully managed to put them down.
Despite the problems, states in the region are optimistic the area will transition to become a better place.