Since the 1970s, Africa has been heavily affected by recurrent periods of drought. These droughts have threatened the livelihoods and future of entire populations across the region. The lack of rain has led to the disappearance of livestock and the destruction of cereal crops. The great famines that rocked the Sub-Saharan region in the 80s each affected millions of people.
In addition, the high population growth rate is increasing demand for food and increasing pressure to gain access to other natural resources which are the basis for livelihoods and the survival of the rural population. The region has an estimated population growth of 3% per year on average which will considerably increase the population from 100 million today to 340 million by 2050.
In 2015 approximately 795 million people, 20 million of them living in Sahel region, were undernourished in the world and nearly a billion people live in extreme poverty. Most of the poor and hungry live in rural areas and a major part of their income comes from agriculture. This is especially true in Africa, particularly in the Sahel, where the economy and the livelihoods of communities are dependent on the exploitation of natural resources in rural areas, particularly soil, water and vegetation.
At the same time, 46% of African land is affected by land degradation jeopardizing the livelihoods of nearly 65% of the African population. In Sahelian countries, land degradation causes a decrease of almost 3% of agricultural production per year, further endangering food security in the sub-region.