West Africa faces a number of water management challenges due to:
- rapid urbanization
- high variability of weather patterns
- the potential effects of climate change
- limited access to water for farmers
- limited capacity among farmers to cope with changes in water availability
IWMI’s projects in West Africa particularly target poor farmers in rural and peri-urban areas and help develop evidence-based strategies and solutions for using water more productively and sustainably under changing conditions of availability.
Aligned with regional development objectives
At a regional level, IWMI aims to support the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) – the instrument for the coordination of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) within the region – through collaboration with national, sub-regional, regional and international partners.
Within this framework, IWMI’s research portfolio in West Africa is aligned with the six components of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme (RAIP):
- The improvement of water management, consisting of (i) the improvement of irrigation, (ii) the integrated management of invasive aquatic plants and (iii) capacity building for organisations in the cross-border basins;
- The improved management of other shared natural resources, including (i) the organization of transhumance and the planning of the route taken, (ii) the sustainable management of forest resources and (iii) the sustainable management of fish resources;
- The sustainable development of farms, taking into account (i) the integrated management of soil fertility, (ii) the strengthening of support services provided to producers and (iii) the dissemination of improved technologies;
- The development of agricultural value chains and the promotion of the markets, consisting of (i) the development of the different value chains (food, peri-urban agriculture, export crops, short-cycle breeding, agro-forestry products, non-industrial fishing and aquaculture), (ii) the development of product processing, (iii) the strengthening of support services provided to operators and (iv) the promotion of national, regional and international trade;
- The prevention and management of food crises and other natural catastrophes, focusing on (i) the promotion of early warning systems, (ii) the development of crises management systems, (ii) support for the rehabilitation of zones after crises and (iv) the development of compensation mechanisms/insurance against catastrophes;
- Institutional strengthening, including (i) the integration of a standard approach, (ii) support for the improvement of agricultural and rural policy and strategy formulation capacities, (iii) the sustainable financing of agriculture, (iv) communication, (v) steering and coordination capacity building and (vi) monitoring and evaluation capacity building.
IWMI’s research activities simultaneously aim to support the West African Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAP) towards achieving increases in agricultural productivity, and sustainability, of at least three percent annually.
Supporting national development goals
At a national level, IWMI collaborates with government departments and national agricultural research organizations to support national development priorities including the development and implementation of CAADP National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs). IWMI also works closely with a wide array of development partners, civil society organizations, and private sector enterprises.
The IWMI West Africa office is based in Accra, Ghana.