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.