Africa // Nexus Trade-offs and Strategies for Addressing the Water, Agriculture and Energy Security Nexus in Africa
This study by ICA, IUCN and IWA was intended to apply a structured analytical process to Africa's Volta and Lake Victoria basins and using this information to provide an overview of selected regional challenges and opportunities for multipurpose (water infrastructure); and based on that to design a Rapid Assessment Framework (RAF) with which to assess how current and upcoming infrastructure projects deal with nexus challenges.
The study has been written by Phil Riddell.
It was commissioned by the International Water Association on behalf of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa. The International Union for Conservation Nature were also a partner in development of the study.
According to the study, the diverse opportunities to mobilise depend on a combination of the players involved and the context, but if a nexus strategy is to be followed the best approaches for:
Development Partners (development banks and bilateral donors) – should be a focus on policy and institutional measures; these are needed to establish an enabling environment for multi-purpose infrastructure especially for large scale and transboundary basin level investments
Regional Bodies and National Governments– should be a focus on capacity building for and investments in multi-purpose infrastructure, including innovative financing models that facilitate equity participation by small producers in value chains.
The Commercial Sector – would be to, either independently or in partnerships with Governments, be to invest at any scale in both commercial agriculture and electricity supply. At a small scale this could be in outgrower programmes and value chains. As scale increases, there will be various opportunities for commercial investments including Public Private Partnerships.
Communities – would be to participate financially – through labour or kind (if cash is not available) – in all publicly funded projects from which they benefit. Innovative financing methods could be used to increase access to better equipment, as well as to obtain equity in value chains and diversify their farming systems towards water smart agriculture.
To address many of the challenges facing the management of water, energy and food resources there needs to be active cooperation between these different institutions which may require reformulation of policy approaches and institutional priorities.
The study outlines a roadmap towards nexus solutions in a typical African transboundary river basin including identifying possible regional solutions to local problems and understanding the institutional capacity and the gaps to reach implementation. This provides an overview of where investment can be focused. Investments need to include agreed cost/benefits sharing protocols. This provides an opportunity for hands-on training and joint communications and learning with key stakeholders to propose infrastructure development of (multi scale, natural or built) that has benefits across sectors. This can lead to the development of an investment portfolio for nexus infrastructure investments and the sharing of benefits across sectors and between stakeholders.
One further result of the study was a Rapid Assessment Framework (RAF) intended to assess how current and upcoming infrastructure projects adequately deal with nexus challenges in the Lake Victoria and Volta River Basins. In particular, the RAF should i) provide general information about current and future investments in infrastructure; and ii) include a suite of criteria capturing financing, costs and benefits, policies, benefits and trade-offs. Clearly, in order to be “rapid” such a framework should be simple to use; but if it is also to be of optimal utility, certain elements could also be used as the basis for multi-criteria analysis (MCA) or comparison with alternatives or other examples. Accordingly, the proposed RAF provides users with a simple fiche setting out summary details of the infrastructure and its geo-political context along with a weighted scoring system capturing its expected performance, benefits and trade-offs – see below. The weighting factors are basin/region specific, and should be fixed by stakeholders prior to any MCA.