Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) failed to meet most Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require knowledge-intensive actions that weigh development goals against sustainability options with several possibilities in various contexts. Land resources are the mainstay for most African communities and the basis of achievement of most SDGs. The “transformation imperative” in Africa will only take place in a differentiated set of resource management and use. The baselines in African countries are rather low in terms of internal policy and economic functions. The objective of this paper is to instate ideas on ways to achieve the SDGs through a new transformative design based on a collective capacity of diverse actors to access a range of land-based practices. We should selectively adapt, adopt, or consolidate various land innovations by targeting place and time where various practices have worked or can work in a range of ecologies; what seems to work over the short-term but reduces risks for the long-term; and what the implications are for wealth, food production, livelihoods, climate change, resilience, and development. This requires a greater capacity to apply what is known about transformative action but also set a collaborative learning system to influence policy-makers and action-takers to support sustainable transformation.
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