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World Bank Reports Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience Against Drought

As extreme drought continues to hit much of Sub-Saharan Africa, leaving millions of people in need of emergency assistance, a new report led by the World Bank focuses on interventions that could increase long term resilience to drought. Launched at the First Great Green Wall Conference held in Dakar, the report Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands: Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience estimates that a set of interventions could help reduce the impact of drought by about half in Africa’s drylands. This will keep on average 5 million people per year out of danger in areas that constitute some of Africa’s poorest zones.

“Drylands, which are hot spots of natural disasters, are at the core of Africa’s development challenge,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa. “If we are to achieve lasting poverty reduction, it is imperative to better manage the impacts of extreme weather and climate variability, as the number of people living in drylands and competing for scarce resources will increase.”

Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands focuses on a subset of countries in East and West Africa that contain large arid, semi-arid, and sub-humid areas and are home to over 300 million people. Frequent and severe shocks, especially droughts, already limit livelihood opportunities, undermine efforts to eradicate poverty, and require emergency aid. The future promises to be even more challenging: population growth and an 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.

But better management of livestock, agriculture and natural resources could help enhance people’s resilience in the face of change. “Our research found that by investing in interventions that increase the sustainability and productivity of herding and farming, we could vastly improve the prospects for development in East and West Africa and cushion the losses that disproportionately affect poor households,” said Raffaelo Cervigni, World Bank Lead Environmental Economist and co-author of the report.


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