In Pavelic, Paul; Villholth, K. G.; Verma, Shilp. (Eds.). Sustainable groundwater development for improved livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge / The abundance of groundwater resources of Sub-Saharan Africa is generally well recognized, but quantitative estimates of their potential for irrigation development are lacking. This study derives estimates using a simple and generic water balance approach and data from secondary sources for 13 countries. Even with conservative assumptions and accounting for water demands from other sectors, including the environment, a 120-fold increase (by 13.5 million hectares) in the area under groundwater irrigation is possible for the countries considered. This expansion could improve the livelihoods of approximately 40% of the present-day rural population.