Land: Africa

Africa's total land area covers 29.6 million km2, of which two-thirds is arid or semi-arid (UNEP 1999a). Land is central to development in Africa since the livelihoods of about 60 per cent of the population are dependent on agriculture (Moyo 2000).

The main issues related to land in Africa include increasing degradation and desertification, together with inappropriate and inequitable land tenure systems, which have played a major role in exacerbating degradation. Other widespread problems include a decline in soil fertility, soil contamination, land management and conservation, gender imbalances in land tenure, and conversion of natural habitat to agricultural or urban uses.