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Sahel, Africa
Ben’s Place of the Week

Sahel, Africa

Coordinates: 16 0 N 5 0 E

Approximate length: 3,125 miles (5,029 km)

With the Earth’s rapidly growing population putting increased pressure on available resources, recent news from Niger offers encouragement for an attainable, more sustainable future. The Sahel, a swath of semiarid territory stretching across Africa south of the Sahara has long been plagued by drought and famine, made worse by subsistence farmers who cleared vegetation only to leave the terrain vulnerable to wind erosion and further desertification.

In the last few decades however, a largely grassroots effort has led to the gradual re-greening of areas northeast of Niger’s capital city. For a dry, landlocked, and exceedingly poor country where less than one percent of its labor force is salaried, a little extra shade and some hope for the years ahead is certainly something to celebrate.

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Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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