Graphical Abstract. (Muhirwa et al., 2022)
Although many African countries have made significant progress towards universal access to water, energy, and food resources (WEF), assessing the ecological response to the increasing productivity of these resources is not well researched, which carries the risk of ecological deficit, resource degradation, and inefficient policy responses to resource management. This study seeks to assess the ecological sustainability response to the high increase demand for WEF resources in well-developed African countries. The study developed new measurement metrics for the WEF production system, including three indicators of ecological footprint (EF), ecological biocapacity (EBC), and eco-balance. The overall analysis considers data from four distinct types of water and energy use activities, and eight distinct types of food consumption, in nine African countries with the highest WEF nexus performance. An evaluation tool for the Water, Energy, Food and Ecological Balance (WEFEB) nexus index is proposed as one of the study's outcomes. Despite having 100% access to WEF resources related to the SDG targets. The results reveal the significant levels of imbalance and large ecological deficits existing in many of the concerned countries, especially North Africa, Mauritius, and South Africa, which need to rethink their economic models. Projecting a sustained increase in resource demand so that each country achieves at least 1700 m3/capita/year as the minimum amount of water needed, most countries would suffer from a steady increase in ecological imbalance. According to the results, managing the ecological imbalances with increasing demand for WEF resources in well-developed African countries may require well-designed policies to effectively reduce certain types of human demand that have a large ecological footprint.
Muhirwa, F., Shen, L., Elshkaki, A., Zhong, S., Hu, S., Hirwa, H., ... & Mulinga, N. (2022). Ecological balance emerges in implementing the water-energy-food security nexus in well-developed countries in Africa. Science of The Total Environment, 833, 154999.
- Research Article // Household water-energy-food security nexus: Empirical evidence from Hamburg and Melani communities in South Africa
- Research Article // A Review of the integrated WEF Nexus modeling platform in the NENA region: Morocco case study
- Research Article // A Review of the Water–Energy–Food Nexus Research in Africa