Dryland Development

Photo Credit: MetaMeta, Emmanuel Ikwuegbu, Adam Ahmed Ismail

A large part of the Africa’s drylands can be developed towards sustainability and climate-resilience. The key opportunities are in water conservation, sustainable land and ecosystem management, promoting drought-tolerant agriculture and boosting institutional capacities. An analysis by the World Bank shows that only a set of 5-6 interventions can help reducing about half of the drought impacts in Africa’s drylands (*). Upscaling good practices, combined with addressing the socio-political barriers would mean food security and resilient livelihoods for millions of people across countries of East and West Africa regions. We believe that such a vision is attainable through sustainable and smart management of the essential resources: soil, water and ecosystem services.

The African drylands have a classic challenge: limited water availability undermines livelihoods, food securities and a wide range of other socio-economic development goals. Erratic rainfall, severe droughts, degradation of agricultural and rangelands are some of the most prominent shocks that increasingly affect millions of people in East and West Africa. Additionally, policies and approaches in land and water management sometimes represent critical limiting factors. The knowledge base and concrete measures to address these challenges are expanding and call for systematic documentation.

This dossier takes stock of on-going research and development activities in the Africa’s drylands, to derive a portfolio of good practices for dryland management. It bundles together promising practices, ranging from producing fodder to boost animal stocks, building water spreading weirs in spate systems, to establishing women-led groups to grow winter-season vegetable crops. The solutions are diverse in natures and objectives. They cover different dryland contexts in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Kenya and beyond. It is the diversity and complimentary features of these solutions that offers possibilities to develop tailored strategies and interventions for specific situations. We aim to develop and sustain this dossier as a living knowledge base that directly contributes to sustainability and resilience of the African drylands.

(*) Cervigni, Raffaello; Morris, Michael. 2016. Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands : Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience. Washington, DC: World Bank; and Agence Française de Développement. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/23576


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