The 1983-85 drought which afflicted Africa's dry lands has been alleviated by two years of better rainfall in Ethiopia and Sudan, but persists in southern Africa. In the north, attention has turned to drought-recovery measures: control of locusts, replenishment of food reserves, reconstitution of herds, soil rehabilitation and improved early warning. These efforts provide a chance to review the lessons learned from 1983-85, and to assess strategies for coping with drought. Are there feasible technical solutions other than a mass exodus of people and animals which would permit development within Africa's fragile dry lands? What room for manoeuvre exists for their rehabilitation and future use?