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Senegal President Describes
`Great Green Wall' Project

June 4, 2008 (EIRNS)—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 7,000 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 produce."

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."

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