Credit: Galanhsnu

Cooperation in International Waters in Africa: Annual Report FY2018

Results by Project or Basin – SADC


Shared information boosts riparian trust and confidence and forms the basis of transboundary cooperation.

OUTCOME AREA 2. Shared data, knowledge, and analytical tools enable timely, transparent, and regionally beneficial decision making.

Groundwater Analysis: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Groundwater Management Institute (GMI) supports national institutions and River Basin Organizations (RBOs) in conducting multidisciplinary analyses in selected transboundary aquifers. Under the guidance of the SADC-GMI, Mozambique and Malawi have agreed to cooperate on the identification of cross-border water issues requiring shared management, as well as the development of institutional mechanisms. Such mechanisms will support more equitable, sustainable, and resilient water-use approaches based on conjunctive management of the Shire River and aquifer systems. This cooperative project will entail a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), the participatory formulation of a strategic action plan, the implementation of quick-win projects, national and regional advocacy and capacity building, and the dissemination of results at appropriate regional and global platforms. The contract to undertake the TDA was awarded in the summer of 2017 and will be running until April 2019. This work will also document and disseminate regionally relevant principles and guidelines to promote cooperative transboundary management of river and/or aquifer systems. Through a collaboration with the United Nations’ International Groundwater Assessment Center (IGRAC), GMI has also developed an online groundwater information portal that disseminates regional groundwater information. The portal also includes a dedicated workspace and viewer for the SADC-hydrogeological map, which contains detailed information for each map layer and allows data to be used for offline processing and analyses.


Effective regional and national institutions enable riparian states to manage shared risks and harness net benefits of cooperation.

OUTCOME AREA 2. Financially and institutionally sustainable regional organizations provide effective water management services to countries.

Groundwater Institutional Capacity Strengthened: In an important step for institutional development, SADC-GMI has gained subsidiarity status within SADC (approved by SADC ministers in mid-2018), which increases its independence and provides a strong platform to build regional recognition through future activities. Institutional arrangements for the SADC-GMI have also been strengthened with the hiring of additional technical staff, allowing the organization to play its intended role as a regional center of excellence in groundwater management and development.

Among the first activities launched by the SADC-GMI is the development and implementation of a regional capacity-building program. The objectives of the program are to collect available groundwater data from all 15 Member States, benchmark the content at the regional level, implement specific national and regional training activities, and update the SADC Groundwater Information Portal. IGRAC and the host institute – University of the Free State Institute for Groundwater Studies (UFS-IGS) – have begun to collect data from Member States. They have recruited 26 young professionals to assist as part of an internship program. An overview of the current state of data and information management is being prepared based on consultations, desk studies, and field visits to member states to undertake gap analyses and identify priority actions at the national and regional levels.

The SADC-GMI completed an Awareness, Knowledge Management, and Communication strategy in June 2018. The document will be used to guide SADC-GMI outreach. In addition to the new strategy, SADC GMI has created or held numerous events, publications, brochures, booklets, and trainings in order to create awareness among stakeholders.


Regionally beneficial investments generate socioeconomic benefits and gender-inclusive poverty reduction.

OUTCOME AREA 2. Coordinated investment planning and inclusive stakeholder engagement ensures equitable benefit sharing and effective risk management.

Inclusive Investment: The SADC-GMI has developed a Sub-Grant Manual to promote regional investments that generate socioeconomic benefits result in gender-inclusive poverty reduction. The GMI supports member states in planning for appropriate and sustainable groundwater infrastructure solutions in priority areas including rehabilitation, operation and maintenance, and modernization or scaling up of existing infrastructure. Solutions in these priority areas are aimed at improving groundwater utilization, management, and protection.

To learn from experiences, the GMI has reviewed small-scale investments made under previous World Bank-supported regional projects on drought management. The review evaluated the socioeconomic benefits of these projects with a focus on women and the poor. Proposed investment rehabilitation and improvements will be taken up under the new grant scheme. The Sub-Grant Manual was approved in December 2017 and is currently under implementation. To date, 13 Member States have been oriented on the use of the Sub-Grant Manual, with the first projects nearing implementation.