DSC 0303

Nexus Regional Dialogue in Southern Africa

Supporting development cooperation through multi-sector resource management

Project Details

  • EU
  • Logo SADC 730x730
  • Logo GWP 730x730
  • Implementing organisation:

    Global Water Partnership – Southern Africa

  • Collaborating partners:

    Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

  • Implementation period:

    June 2020 – August 2023 

  • Beneficiary countries:

    SADC member countries

  • Funding by:

    European Union (EU)  

Key Publications

Presentation SADC WEF Nexus Governance Framework

Presentation: SADC WEF Nexus Governance Framework

News from Southern Africa

Regional Context

A resource-rich region with enormous potential

The Southern Africa region is endowed with abundant water, energy and food resources and is home to 16 countries and 360 million people. With six landlocked countries and three island states, regional cooperation to manage water, food and energy resources is a necessity for poverty reduction and equitable, sustainable regional development. Around 60% of the population of the SADC live in rural areas relying on rain-fed agriculure and lack basic energy, water, and sanitation services. Ensuring the security of water, energy and food resources is at the heart of the region’s development, integration and resilience goals.

Since 2016, the Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme in Southern Africa has been working across the region to institutionalise the WEF Nexus in public policy and planning. In the programme’s second phase they will continue this work with demonstration projects that show the value-added of the WEF Nexus, capacity building activities and the identification of financing opportunities.

DSC 0117 1

With six landlocked countries and three island states, regional cooperation to manage water, food and energy resources is a necessity for poverty reduction and equitable, sustainable regional development.

Nexus Stories

Check out these Nexus successes across our regions - presented in a visual storytelling format, with personal stories and expert insights

Southern africa

The Southern African region has diverse climatic areas and geography, with peaks in Tanzania and South Africa, vast forests in Malawi, and desert landscapes in Namibia. 85% of the region’s water resources are transboundary, with fifteen shared river basins. Climate change has already begun to alter rainfall patterns and cause long dry-spells and flooding. 

Why are WEF Nexus Solutions Needed?

  • 70%

    Over 70% of SADC’s freshwater resources are shared between two or more member states

  • 155 Million

    Over 155 million people (60%) in the SADC region do not have access to improved sanitation facilities

  • 100 Million

    Over 100 million (40%) Southern Africans do not have access to safe drinking water

  • 45%

    Electricity levels are below 45% for nine of the fifteen Southern African countries

  • 44.8 Million

    Close to 44.8 million people in Southern Africa are food insecure

  • 39%

    39% of working Southern Africans are in the agriculture sector

  • Water
  • Food

Water and Agriculture

The agriculture sector, which provides employment for approximately 40% of the region’s population, depends on seasonal rains and is largely supported by small-scale or subsistence farmers. Extreme weather events are increasingly threatening agricultural output and putting the livelihoods of farmers and regional food security at risk – these floods and droughts will only become more frequent as the effects of climate change intensify.

  • Water
  • NRD icon turbine shaped

Water and Energy

In Southern Africa, water and energy are inextricably linked. Though the energy mix is diverse, 90 to 100% of electricity production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia is generated by hydropower. The region has enormous potential to scale up hydropower dams as well as solar and wind power generation. SADC nations share an energy grid – further underlining how cooperation and sharing the of benefits of transboundary river basins is at the heart of the entire region’s water and energy security.

  • NRD icon turbine shaped
  • Food

Energy and Agriculture

Southern Africa is not currently exploiting its full energy potential, with significant opportunities for solar and wind power generation. Energy is less utilised in the agricultural sector especially in the small-holder setup. However, both energy and agriculture are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These resources could be threatened in the SADC region due to changing climate conditions. 


Developing a foundation for WEF Nexus

When this project began in 2016, the goal was to create discussions about the WEF Nexus among policymakers and high-level regional organisations to generate a change in their thinking about the water, energy and food security. 

In its first phase, the Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme in Southern Africa achieved this through the following outcomes:

Key Activities

Diverse plans to push WEF Nexus to the next level in Southern Africa

Building on the successes of the first phase, Phase II of the Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme in Southern Africa will focus on the practical application of the Nexus approach.

The main objectives include:

  • Increased operationalisation of the Nexus through policy and investment dialogue events.
  • Tailored trainings at national and SADC-secretariat level on Nexus tools, applications and bottom-up policy implications and recommendations
  • Tangible benefits of Nexus approach through planned demonstration projects
  • Preparation of Nexus investment projects with support from public and private investors, especially for transboundary water projects

Recent Resources


Stay up to date!

We inform you about current projects, events, actions, publications and news!