IWMI's research in Africa

Welcome to IWMI Africa

A key focus for IWMI’s research activities in Africa is making positive, tangible impacts on the food security and livelihoods of poor people throughout the continent.  Careful consideration of how the outputs of IWMI’s research activities can easily be understood, taken up and acted on, from the grassroots community level to pan-African policy level, forms a core component of IWMI’s work.

IWMI’s activities in Africa are also guided by an institute-wide Strategic Plan and the research agenda of the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and other CRPs in which IWMI is actively participating.

Research projects combine research with other related activities such as research uptake and local capacity building, implemented to enable greater development impact.  IWMI’s approach is flexible to enable research projects to adapt to changing circumstances and situations, while keeping focused on delivering positive development outcomes.

Download the Brief

Guiding principles for IWMI’s research-for-development program in Africa
English version
French version


Aligned with pan-African development objectives

Collaboration with national and international partners is the cornerstone of IWMI’s collaborative approach.

IWMI Africa shares the aim of the African Union Commission (AUC), through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), “to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development” and so “eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture”.

IWMI Africa works to support the achievement of this goal by aligning its research portfolio with the four pillars of CAADP:

  1. Land and Water Management
  2. Market Access
  3. Food Supply and Hunger
  4. Agricultural Research

In particular, IWMI has a focus on Pillar 1.  IWMI Africa also works to support NEPAD, and Sub-Saharan Africa regional economic communities such as the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Supporting national development goals

At a national level, IWMI collaborates with government Ministries, national agricultural research organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector.  IWMI’s research program aims to support national agricultural development aspirations through agricultural water management (AWM) for improved agricultural productivity, food security and ecosystem health.  To achieve this IWMI is represented in three regions of sub-Saharan Africa with offices in Accra (covering the West Africa sub-region), Addis Ababa (covering the East Africa sub-region) and Pretoria (covering the Southern Africa sub-region).


Strategic partnerships for development impact

The AUC and CGIAR recently formed a strategic partnership under CAADP, and signed an MOU calling for joint actions to guide implementation of alignment of programs and support activities for CAADP. These include:

  • a research alignment plan that coordinates research programs with CAADP National Investment Plans
  • a Science and Technology Agenda for African Agriculture
  • a joint plan to support regional and sub-regional research activities
  • the development of joint African and CGIAR technology platforms
  • technical support; and joint sharing of information and knowledge