“Chronicle of Three Deaths Foretold” – A call to action for the Fouta Djallon

By Erik Orsenna, Joel Ruet, & Hamed Semega. Published in Diplomatic Courier on March 31, 2023.

“The forested highlands of Fouta Djallon are in danger, and that means six major African rivers, including the Senegal, Gambia, and Niger rivers could dry up with devastating impacts. There are clear, actionable steps we can take to save the highlands, write Erik Orsena, Joel Ruet, and Hamed Semega.

The three deaths are those of the Senegal, Gambia, and Niger rivers.

So are the countries to which they give their names, as without their life-giving waters, the lands reliant on them will dry out and eventually die. It isn’t just Senegal, Gambia, and Niger that rely on these rivers either, it is also countries such as Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.

Erik Orsenna

Member of Académie française, Chairman, Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers (IFGR)


Joel Ruet

Economist at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation (i3), CNRS Chairman, The Bridge Tank


Hamed Semega

former Minister of water in Mali, former High Commissioner of the Senegal River Basin Organisation (2017-2022)

To read about IFGR, The Bridge Tank and OMVS’ side event on “The Fouta Djallon: Visions & Actions to Safeguard the Water Tower of West Africa” at the UN 2023 Water Conference, on March 24, 2023, click here.

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