Keynote by Chris Reij, at the 5th International Symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D”, 27  May 2018, Amsterdam

“In Africa’s drylands food security is facing serious challenges. With the current population growth in, for example Niger, the population is estimated to have doubled in the last 20 years. Unsustainable land management practices, the effects of climate change and a growing population pressure are causing soil degradation at an unprecedented scale. National governments of African countries have set ambitious goals to restore degraded land. However, given current rates of demographic growth these targets are not ambitious enough. The pace of re-greening needs to be speeded up, as soon as possible. One very promising initiative is re-greening of Africa’s drylands. Since the mid 1980s a growing number of innovative farmers and local communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger have started to practice simple, low-cost farmer-managed natural regeneration on their field. Farmers in densely-populated parts of Niger have done so at scale (5 million ha), but much more needs to be done. A communication strategy is extremely important, to speed up the scale of re-greening successes and reverse the trends of soil degradation and desertification. “

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