African countries are home to many of the brightest and most striking pavilions at COP 27, none more so than the one housing the Niger delegation.
Alkhussani Agchekou, a resident of the outlying desert village of Tchintabaraden, is smack dab in the heart of this explosion of color and culture.
It is located in the country’s westernmost arid desert basin. The classic tea set that is in front of him, however, is what stands out the most. Since the conference started, Mr. Agchekou claims to have served more than 19,000 cups of tea.
He offers me a cup of his delicious sweet tea and says he wants to draw attention to how climate change is impacting the traditional Tuareg way of life. I accept the cup.
According to him, serving tea to delegates gives him the chance to speak with change-makers and is a gesture of love and respect.
“Traditional Tuareg customs are changing because many young people are forced to leave his area to seek work as the encroaching desert takes away agricultural opportunities,” he tells me.
The deterioration of traditional cultures is one of the ripple consequences that he wants world leaders to be aware of.
The World Bank estimates that climate change and desertification cost Niger at least 100,000 hectares of land per year. The 80% of the nation’s population that depends on small-scale farming is seriously impacted by this.