East Africa

Sustained Engagement Projects


Nile Cooperation for Results (NCORE)


  • Year started: 2012
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)

The waters of the Nile River are a vital economic lifeline in East Africa, with over 200 million people living in the basin of the world’s longest river. CIWA’s long-term engagement in the Nile Basin is made up of multiple initiatives to support cooperative engagements between countries and create space for dialogue and stakeholder engagement. CIWA support to 11 Nile riparian states is helping to not only spur development, but also reduce tensions and prevent conflict, demonstrating the powerful nature of transboundary cooperation.

Objective and Elements

Through the NCORE project, CIWA’s support helped establish the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) as a regional institution that provides advisory, analytical, and technical services to its member countries for the purpose of advancing cooperative water resources management and development. The project supported three branches of the NBI – NBI Secretariat, Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP), and Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) – in strengthening the platform for basin-wide cooperation and enhancing capacity for cooperative management and development. The focus of CIWA work with ENTRO was on establishing a dam safety program, strengthening flood monitoring and early warning systems, and building the knowledge base for cooperative water resources management (WRM). Work with NELSAP focused on identifying and advancing cooperative investments for WRM.

Through the project, it has become the norm for participating Nile countries to jointly evaluate and approve projects identified by the NBI. Notably, the member states approved the preselection of 26 priority investments valued at US$2.73 billion with over 4 million direct beneficiaries (40% located in FCV states – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and South Sudan),  generate over 400 MW of power and improve irrigation across 250,000 ha. 

Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR)


  • Year started: 2021
  • Key Partner/s: Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)

Building on the NCORE, this project is expanding CIWA’s solid, long-term technical engagement with Nile Basin institutions, thus, representing an important continuation of World Bank engagement that can contribute to addressing the still-fragile situation.

Objective and Elements

The project aims to scale up actions and engagements to leverage the success of regional organizations by mobilizing countries around cooperative action and supporting countries that have expressed interest in the need for further. The project focuses on five areas – (i) platform for cooperation, (ii) flood and drought risk mitigation, (iii) dam safety capacity building, (iv) innovative information services for climate-resilient investment planning, and (v) water quality investment planning and prioritization – and will use regional processes to continue to sustain dialogue and trust-building, strengthen member states’ capacity, and promote stakeholder engagement.

Engaging Civil Society for Social and Climate Resilience


  • Year started: 2014
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)

Connecting national governments and regional actors with local communities is crucial to ensuring inclusion and equity in cooperative water resources management and development. The Nile Basin’s vast geography and diversity in cultures, languages, and interests require that outreach and support to civil society be thoughtfully designed.

Objective and Elements

CIWA’s project with the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) – a network of civil society organizations from across the Nile Basin – aims to facilitate increased civil society engagement in Nile Basin development planning and dialogue.

Increased participation of local stakeholders in development planning as a result of NBD’s involvement leads to win-win solutions benefiting communities across borders. NBD has mobilized partnerships with governments and civil society organizations to ensure that social concerns shape transboundary water investments.

NBD has contributed to program and policy discussions at different international platforms. This included the Horn of Africa Climate Security Working Group coordinated by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in cooperation with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and the Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development organized by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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Strategic Engagements



  • Year started: 2020
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)

In East Africa, 11 countries, eight of which are landlocked, heavily rely on the regional Great Lakes for food security, resilient livelihoods, human capital, and stability. Thus, water quality and lake management are critical for supporting the socio-economic activities of the region. This region is strategically important due to its high population density brought about by high soil fertility, wet climate, and Lake Victoria, where fisheries are a haven for those lacking other resources.

Objective and Elements

The Great Lakes Water Quality analytics project aims to advance the water-quality knowledge base that will underpin investments to improve stability, human capital, and climate resilience in the Great Lakes region.

The study will prioritize practical outputs to determine how the Bank can best support initiatives in various areas related to water quality and will support knowledge and capacity building of regional institutions. It will inform the Bank’s future engagements by identifying potential investments in sustainable land and water management and Lake-wide inclusive sanitation and wastewater management and provide technical assistance to the Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR).

Based on analyses in the first phase, priority engagement areas have been proposed for further technical assistance and investment.

The project is engaged in wetland conservation, reducing human and industrial waste and toxin flow into the Lakes and promoting sustainable agriculture by moving towards organic farming to improve the biodiversity in fields, flora and fauna.

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  • Year started: 2019
  • Key Partner/s: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), covering Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda

Objective and Elements

CIWA is supporting a fast-growing portfolio in the Horn of Africa.

With the Horn of Africa Groundwater Initiative (HoA-GWI), CIWA promotes regional cooperation on groundwater management by bolstering the role of IGAD in the region’s economic and social development.

The project supports IGAD member states to prepare for groundwater development and management by strengthening knowledge systems, building national and regional (IGAD) capacities, and assessing the feasibility of specific investments. CIWA is undertaking feasibility studies for three aquifers – Merti, Bagara and Mt. Elgon – as jointly decided by the IGAD member states. This project enhances the knowledge base on groundwater in the sub-region and helps countries identify areas to build gaps in their capacity.

In 2020, CIWA launched another initiative in the region, Strengthening Resilience in the Horn of Africa, to strengthen the foundations for regional approaches to resilience-building by improving the knowledge base and the institutional capacity related to climate shocks and scoping for potential investments in the region. The analytical and technical assistance initiative focuses on three pillars: (i) strengthening information for resilience, (ii) strengthening institutions and organizations for resilience, and (iii) strengthening the knowledge base for regional resilience investments. The project has launched an online knowledge-sharing series to provide a dedicated space for learning and reflection on the meaning and implications of regional resilience building. A study to take stock of regional resilience investment projects in the region is underway.

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  • Year started: 2018
  • Key Partner/s: Government of Somalia

Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland and an estimated population of 15 million. Approximately 60% of Somalia is arid or semi-arid with uneven and irregular availability of water resources. The Shebelle and Jubba rivers are essential sources of water for people, livestock, and irrigation purposes.

Objective and Elements

The Somali Transboundary Water Resources Management Project provides technical support to the Government of Somalia on water resources development options for the Juba and Shebelle basins.

Recognizing CIWA’s efforts in the country, the Government of Somalia has proposed to expand the project’s initial scope. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, CIWA provides technical assistance to the Government of Somalia, Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to develop a National Water Strategy. The National Water Resources Strategic Plan and a Water Resources Development Road Map is helping convert key activities into projects aligned with the strategy. The project has enabled the Government to pursue dialogue with neighbouring countries.

CIWA is supporting the development of a Water Resources Model to build the capacity of water sector institutions and train selected hydrogeologists on water resources modelling. CIWA has trained a dozen Somalian hydrologists on the streamflow model for the Shebelle and Juba rivers to help visualize the fluctuation of flow through time.

The quality and depth of understanding on shared water resources provided through this support have enabled Somalia to begin foundational work that includes building capacity and experience, collecting and organizing water resources information, and articulating its vision for water resources and development. Ultimately, the project is helping Somalia shape the dialogue on transboundary water resources.

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