||The sustainable intensification of dryland agricultural systems in high- and low-income countries faces different, though equally challenging, and complex problems requiring new science and the application of more integrative and trans-disciplinary approaches (Rodriguez and Sadras, 2011). On one hand, the limited availability of resources (e.g., land, finance, labour) and the lack of access to inputs, product markets and infrastructure constrain the opportunities and incentives smallholder farmers have to change and improve dryland agricultural systems. On the other hand, in Australia, our best farmers are reaching the point where further increases in yield become uneconomical, too risky (Sadras and Rodriguez, 2010) or inconsistent with environmental outcomes (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ water/quality). This is taking place in a world where the number of hungry people reached record levels in 2009. Despite a slight recovery in 2010, malnutrition among the world’s poorest remains higher than that when the 1996 World Food Summit agreed to a hunger-reduction target. The medium term outlook indicates that agricultural output in the coming decade will not match that of the previous decade, i.e. annual growth will fall from 2% in 1999–2008 to 1.7% in 2009–2018 (OECD-FAO, 2009) while the expected increase in the world population is 40% by 2050 and climate changes will become increasingly more evident and serious (Parry et al., 2005). The challenge is then to increase food production by 70%, or nearly 100% in low-income countries, by 2050 to cope with the expected increases in population and food demand. Though different pathways are likely to contribute differently to meeting these targets in Africa and Australia. Understanding and actioning upon differences and similarities have the potential to generate learnings and benefits across both continents. Below we present a brief account of SIMLESA’s benefits to Australia’s rural industries, summarised in terms of benefits from: New capacity, skills and research infrastructure; New systems analysis tools and data sets; New genetics and more sustainable practices; and New public private partnerships and sources of funding.