About CIWA


Unlocking Africa’s Water Resources Through Sustainable Management

Today, Africa has around 1.3 billion inhabitants and is projected to reach an estimated 2.8 billion by 2060. The continent has a huge potential to reduce poverty, enhance energy efficiency, and mitigate climate risks by sustainably managing and using its abundant natural resources like water.

However, access to clean and affordable water is a privilege. While only 58% of Africans have access to safe drinking water, less than 5% of cultivated land is irrigated, and the continent utilizes only 10% of its hydroelectricity potential. 

Water is essential for a thriving economy and personal wellbeing. Tapping into Africa’s water resources has the potential to significantly strengthen the region’s water security, improve livelihoods, and fuel economic growth. Improved water management can contribute towards achieving food security, reducing vulnerability to climate change, improving human health and sanitation, and increasing energy generation and industrial expansion.

With 90% of the water in Africa falling within 63 international river basin catchments crossed by multiple borders, water management in the continent is a global and cooperative endeavor.


CIWA: At a Glance

Since 2011, the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) program is supporting riparian governments in Sub-Saharan Africa to assist in the sustainable, inclusive, climate-resilient growth by addressing constraints to cooperative management and development in transboundary waters.

CIWA achieves its goals by focusing on its three I’s

Information: for understanding risks, better decision-making, and monitoring compliance

Institutions: to build trust, coordinate planning, and manage shared resources

Investment: to manage watersheds, develop groundwater, build storage, among others

Managed by the World Bank, CIWA is a neutral third-party facilitator providing technical support, and critical analysis to create a better understanding of the transboundary water issues for making informed decisions.


CIWA has a three-pronged approach to deliver results, employing strategies to strengthen and enhance institutions, information, and infrastructure. CIWA supports through: 

1) Sustained Engagements with priority basins, CIWA helps strengthen foundational elements such as data, agreements, institutions, and investment and operation plans. 

2) Strategic Engagements contributes to high-impact prospects through analytical effort, capacity building, and technical assistance.

3) Knowledge Generation and Management initiatives strengthen the evidence base to create tools to manage international waters.  

CIWA provides a platform to support and amalgamate national governments, regional and international organizations, and civil society to ensure that the stakeholders’ concerns are addressed, and benefits are equitably distributed. 

CIWA-supported activities are cross-sectoral as it includes Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI), Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV), energy, agriculture, transportation, social issues, and the environment. It ensures that people and property are protected from water-related shocks and works towards sustainability of the resource base.

Theory of Change

By encouraging countries to work together to share information, strengthen institutions, and advance sustainable investments, CIWA enables a cooperative approach to manage shared risks and to share socio-economic benefits equitably. These efforts reduce resource-related conflict and strengthen regional integration for sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, and resilience to climate change.

Theory of Change

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