Poverty blamed for fueling terrorism
From MACOUMBA BEYE in Dakar, Senegal
DAKAR, (CAJ News) – RAMPANT poverty and declining natural resources have been cited as the major source of conflict and rising incidents of terrorism in the Sahel region.
This region is worst affected by terror extremists have over the years perpetrated, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of millions.
Ministers from African countries North and South of the Sahara and their development partners are meeting in Dakar, Senegal, at a High-Level conference organised by the African Union to address these challenges.
Camilla Nordheim-Larsen, head of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said among the major challenges characterising the region include the flash floods in Niger, the Boko Haram massacres in the Lake
Chad region, food crises in the Horn of Africa and terrorist attacks in Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso, among other countries.
“At their root, all of these can be traced back to a cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity that is fuelled by the declining productivity of natural resources,” Nordheim-Larsen.
At the meeting in Senegal, the Great Green Wall, Africa’s largest rural development initiative, is earmarked to address such challenges.
Launched in 2007, the project aims to restore the productivity of degraded lands across the Sahara and the Sahel and transform millions of lives.
Its goal is to provide food, jobs and a future for the millions of people who live in a region on the frontline of climate change.
The Great Green Wall brings together African countries and international partners under the leadership of the African Union Commission.
With 46 percent of African land currently affected by land degradation, jeopardizing the livelihoods of nearly 65 percent of the continent’s population – the planned action along the Great Green Wall is considered timely.
In 2015, more than 20 million people in the Sahel were food insecure.
– CAJ News
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