With EU-backed forces advancing across Mali, the need for European and other donors to accelerate the development process in Africa’s poorest regions appears ever more pressing. For development experts a simple, yet unheralded solution exists - planting trees.
“Agroforestry is the future of agriculture in the drylands and sub-humid regions”, Dr Chris Reij of the World Resource Institute told a conference of EU officials in the European Parliament on Tuesday (29 January).
United Nations Drylands Ambassador Dennis Garrity said that the planting of trees such as gao, an indigenous form of acacia, had “improved the region’s ability to cope with drought shocks”, contributing towards more political stability over the past 20 to 30 years. But now the need for resilient measures was becoming increasingly urgent as the drylands struggled to cope with climate change, he added.