Fighting land degradation at landscape scale: sustainable land and water management in Africa’s drylands and vulnerable landscapes

The World Bank’s goals are to eradicate extreme poverty, and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. On the African continent, poverty reduction, economic development, and sustainability are deeply intertwined and dependent on the management of natural resources, such as land, water, forest, aquatic resources, and biodiversity, which provide the basis for livelihoods and economic sectors. These resources, however, are highly vulnerable and under stress due to climatic factors, population growth, and poor management practices. Nearly half of Africa’s population live in ecologically sensitive drylands, and, because of frequent and severe shocks, especially droughts, the future promises to be even more challenging. Population growth and expansion of drylands due to climate change could increase the number of people living in a challenging environment by up to 70 percent by 2030, according to recent report on Confronting Drought in Africa’s drylands: opportunities for enhancing resilience. African countries recognize the need for bold vision, strong commitment, and impactful action on the ground. The Great Green Wall Initiative, the African Resilient Landscape Initiative (ARLI), the African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR100), the African Landscapes Action Plan (ALAP), and others create solid foundations for action. Communities, political leaders, and the private sector are acting to restore and protect Africa’s precious natural resources. There are many inspiring successes already. The World Bank has been supporting African countries’ efforts to sustainably manage their natural resources, combat desertification and land degradation, protect valuable resources, and build resilient landscapes. This report presents examples, highlights lesson learned, and identifies future opportunities.