Viewpoint by Jonathan Power*

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - Last May a court in Senegal convicted and sentenced to life-imprisonment Hissène Habré, the former ruler of Chad, for the crime of torture and crimes against humanity. On April 27, 2017 an appeal court upheld the sentence and now Habré, who ran from Chad after a coup in a military transport that airlifted him, his entourage and a Mercedes to what he hoped would be a luxurious exile in Senegal, is languishing in an ordinary prison cell.

Habré’s government killed more than 40,000 people during his presidency from 1982 to 1990, when he was deposed. The American government made a last minute effort to save but failed. He had long been an important, if secret, ally. He was, according to Michael Bronner, writing in the respected Foreign Policy magazine in January 2014, “The centrepiece of the Reagan Administration’s attempt to undermine Muammar Gadaffi who had become an increasing threat and embarrassment to the US with his support of international terrorism”.

- Photo: 2021

‘Green Wall’ in Senegal Aims to Slow Desertification and Feed People

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — Edible, circular gardens are part of a bigger project to bring a belt of green across the continent of Africa.

“Tolou Keur”—circular gardens resistant to drought—are part of Africa’s Great Green Wall project. The project calls for planting papaya and mango trees and a variety of plants across 5,000 miles, from Senegal to Djibouti.

It’s a new, more local approach than what was originally called the Green Wall initiative, launched in 2007 by the African Union and international partners that aimed to slow desertification across Africa’s Sahel region, the arid belt south of the Sahara Desert, by planting some several thousand trees.

But that initiative only managed to plant 4 percent of the pledged 247 million acres of trees, and completing it by 2030 as planned could cost up to $43 billion, according to United Nations estimates.

The scheme was also criticized for its narrow focus on reforestation, neglecting other approaches that could better curb the economic impact desertification has had on local residents.

By contrast, the Tolou Keur gardens have flourished in the seven months since the project began and now number about two dozen, said Senegal’s reforestation agency.

Circular beds allow roots to grow inwards, trapping liquids and bacteria and improving water retention and composting.

Not all the gardens have succeeded. In the remote village of Walalde, the desert has already begun to reclaim the land set aside and there have been problems with the solar-powered pump.

But in the eastern town of Kanel, the garden is said to be thriving. Its caretakers solved a water pump issue by digging traditional irrigation canals. A concrete wall and guard dogs help keep out rodents that would eat the lush mint and hibiscus plants inside.

“The day people realize the full potential of the Great Green Wall, they will stop these dangerous migrations where you can lose your life at sea”, said Moussa Kamara, a local baker.

“With what they could harvest here, they will never want to leave because they will have their fathers, their mothers, their wives and their children with them. It’s better to stay, work the soil, cultivate and see what you can earn. [IDN-InDepthNews — 02 August 2021]

Photo: A farmer in Niger tends to his nursery. Researchers say such community-led efforts will be key to completing the Great Green Wall. David Rose/Panos Pictures

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

Visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

We believe in the free flow of information. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, except for articles that are republished with permission.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top