Shiferaw, B.; Kindie Tesfaye Fantaye; Berresaw Menale Kassie; Abate, T.; Prasanna, B.M.; Menkir, A.
Agriculture and the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are highly sensitive to climatic variability. Drought, in particular, represents one of the most important natural factors contributing to malnutrition and famine in many parts of the region. The overall impact of drought on a given country/region and its ability to recover from the resulting social, economic and environmental impacts depends on several factors. The economic, social and environmental impacts of drought are huge in SSA and the national costs and losses incurred threaten to undermine the wider economic and development gains made in the last few decades in the region. There is an urgent need to reduce the vulnerability of countries to climate variability and to the threats posed by climate change. This paper attempts to highlight the challenges of drought in SSA and reviews the current drought risk management strategies, especially the promising technological and policy options for managing drought risks to protect livelihoods and reduce vulnerability. The review suggests the possibilities of several ex ante and ex post drought management strategies in SSA although their effectiveness depends on agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions. Existing technological, policy and institutional risk management measures need to be strengthened and integrated to manage drought ex ante and to minimize the ex post negative effects for vulnerable households and regions. A proactive approach that combines promising technological, institutional and policy solutions to manage the risks within vulnerable communities implemented by institutions operating at different levels (community, sub-national, and national) is considered to be the way forward for managing drought and climate variability.
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