Earth Environment World

Will the Great Green Wall Stop The Sahara Desert Expansion?

poster of ggw

The Sahara desert is spreading well beyond its original borders due to the increased warming of the earth and rising sea levels. The proposed Great Green Wall project, which would span across nine African nations, aims to stop this expansion. However, some scientists have argued that it may not be enough for the wall to halt the desert’s spread.

Some experts estimate that you would need a 500-foot thick line of trees planted along each side of the planet’s Mediterranean coast. It will stop the expansion of the Sahara desert completely. And while this wall will surely help slow down its growth, it will likely not be enough on its own.

In fact, some scientists have calculated that even if the Great Green Wall were a mile high and a foot and a half thick. It would only be able to slow down the desert’s spread. So while this wall is certainly a step in the right direction. It will not turn back the increasing temperatures on its own.

“The one thing I find absolutely fascinating about all of these proposals is that they involve planting large numbers of trees,” said Dr. Jonathan Foley. He is the director of the California Academy of Sciences. “It’s so easy to think that technological solutions will solve our problems. And yet somehow we have this ideological blind spot when it comes to climate change.”

What is the Great Green Wall Project?

The Great Green Wall (GGW) is a proposed project that would span across nine nations. It will halt the Sahara desert’s expansion. Trees are meant to make up hundreds of miles of the GGW. It’s possible to plant trees along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, in Africa’s Sahel region, or the Mediterranean region.

The United Nations Development Program has estimated that you would need at least 2,000 miles of trees to successfully halt the desert’s expansion. And thus far it has been estimated that it could cost anywhere from $150 billion to $500 billion. According to the developer, this project will help fight global warming. As well as combat poverty in these regions throughout Africa.

The project was initially proposed back in 1994 by the African Union. Back then, it was believed that Africa would see an economic boom after this wall was completed and thus this would help fuel the economy and alleviate poverty.

How is it beneficial?

“The Great Green Wall project will be a catalyst for development and prosperity,” said African Union deputy executive secretary, Adesina. “It will create an enabling environment for communities to practice sustainable agriculture.”

“The wall is a huge opportunity for poor people to lift themselves out of poverty by developing their own land,” he added.

woman running in a desert
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Unlike other plans, the Great Green Wall initiative focuses on involving the local communities and using indigenous knowledge and practices. With an eye on protecting the communities in the region from desertification and ensuring food security, the Great Green Wall Initiative is a novel and hopeful way to help ensure that we can stop dunes from spreading.

The Great Green Wall of Africa is a large-scale and ambitious project that aims to turn dunes and shifting desert into fertile lands. It’s an idea in which the communities involved can benefit, as it will be a way for them to save money.

Challenges for the Great Green Wall Project

While the idea is feasible, there are several challenges that face it. The first one is how much people will be willing to contribute. There a

tree in the middle of a desert
Photo by Jen Healy from Pexels

re many opportunities for both individuals and organizations to give money toward the initiative. But the lack of an official fundraising platform could leave potential contributors at a loss.


Another challenge is the slow rate of development. Because that relies on NGOs, governments, and local communities to contribute data about restoration initiatives. The speeds at which it is developed will be up to these entities.

To solve these problems, the administration must be more appealing to sponsors and contributors.

While most individuals are willing to donate or manage projects in their communities, there needs to be more accountability in place. This way, donors will feel that their money has been put toward meaningful initiatives. And their trust can inspire others to contribute as well.

The challenges seem large as the Sahara desert, but they can be overcome with possible solutions. A better website and more awareness of the projects are necessary. The initiative must also establish a proper fundraising platform for individuals to contribute financially.

Taking care of these problems will help to ensure the Great Green Wall of Africa becomes as beautiful as its name suggests. It will protect the communities around the desert. But it will also make sure that it is successful in other areas as well.

Also read: Gertrude Bell: The Queen of the Desert