Africa: 500 million people without water security

Africa: 500 million people without water security

Around one third of the people on the African continent live without safe access to water. According to the United Nations, even in the most water-rich regions of the continent there is insufficient water security. In addition, the large groundwater reserves in Africa are virtually unused. In the most recent World Water Report, the UN therefore calls for intelligent use of groundwater.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Egypt, Botswana, Gabon, Mauritius and Tunisia are considered the five most water-secure African countries. However, according to the United Nations, they too have “only a modest level of water security”. In contrast, Somalia, Chad and Niger have the lowest water security on the continent.


Better use of groundwater

Groundwater plays a crucial role in the water supply of many countries. However, according to the most recent United Nations World Water Report, there is a lack of knowledge in many places. This leads to overexploitation and unsustainable management of groundwater. In many regions of the world - especially Asia - groundwater is used intensively for agricultural production. Groundwater levels in China and South Asia are falling rapidly.

In contrast, the African continent hardly uses its rich groundwater reserves. Only three percent of the arable land is equipped with irrigation systems, of which only five percent use groundwater. The United Nations is calling for more investment in Africa's water infrastructure. Better access to groundwater could contribute to improved productivity and be a catalyst for economic development.

New Breeding Technologies

Resource scarcity is one of the major megatrends with which the world must deal. Extreme weather events are increasing and periods of drought are getting longer. All the more important are innovative technologies that help farmers cope with these climatic challenges, such as breeding of more heat-tolerant plant varieties or novel pesticides and biostimulants that help plants cope better with abiotic stress. Breeding of resilient varieties needs to be accelerated, which is why the approval of genome editing, for example, is so essential.

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