PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Development banks and states havepledged a total of $14.32 billion over the next four years tobuild a “Great Green Wall” to help contain desertification inAfrica’s northern Sahel region, French President Emmanuel Macronsaid on Monday.Speaking at an international biodiversity summit in Paristhat his government is hosting, Macron said the pledges hadexceeded the initial target of $10 billion.Creeping desertification of land on the edges of the Saharadesert that used to be productive is plunging people intodesperate poverty and driving some to migrate.The project covers a strip of land stretching 8,000 km(5,000 miles) from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Trees andgrasslands will be planted, and projects launched to createsustainable ecosystems, supporters of the initiative say.”That’s 100 million hectares restored, 10 million jobscreated, 250 million tonnes of carbon captured,” Macron said atthe summit at the Elysee Palace, home of the French presidentialadministration.The African Bank for Development (AfDB) said over 5 years itwould mobilise $6.5 billion of the $14.32 billion pledged forthe project.”The future of the Sahel region depends on the Great GreenWall,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina. “Without the GreatGreen Wall, the Sahel region as we know it may disappear.”
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