Ensuring that the world’s food needs are met by 2050 will take doubling of global food production. To improve agricultural yields on that scale will require a radical rethink of global water-management strategies and policies.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of this challenge. The region’s population is set to more than double by 2050 billion, or 25% of the world’s projected population. Half of its current one billion inhabitants live in extreme poverty, one-quarter is undernourished, and one-fifth faces serious water shortages. Although almost two-thirds of the population are rural, agriculture on much of the land is limited by scarce, variable and unpredictable water resources.

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