IWMI’s Research in Africa

IWMI has a strong presence across the continent, conducting research from the offices listed below to help realize Africa’s enormous untapped potential for improved water management. In recent years, many countries of the region have embarked on ambitious programs to mobilize the finances and develop the infrastructure needed to expand water use for irrigation, energy production and other purposes. IWMI researchers help ensure that communities and whole countries get the chance to see what a difference it makes when such initiatives are well managed, leading to water security for all.

IWMI in Africa brochure
IWMI in Africa brochure

IWMI’s work helps release the potential of improved water and land management for addressing key development challenges within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We pursue this aim through three strategic programs:

At the national level, our researchers work with government ministries and agricultural research institutes as well as with a wide array of development partners, including private enterprises. In addition to conducting research with them, we provide capacity building and training on diverse topics, while also supporting master’s and doctoral students. Central to the success of national and local water initiatives is knowing where and how to intervene for maximum shared benefits. Supplying answers to these questions is what IWMI does best.

IWMI also helps attain the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), collaborates with the Secretariat of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and supports various regional initiatives as well. These include the agricultural policy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy and Food Security Action Plan of the East African Community, and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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Solutions for Improved Water Management in West Africa’s Smallholder Agriculture

Solutions for Improved Water Management in West Africa’s Smallholder Agriculture
Solutions for Improved Water Management in West Africa’s Smallholder Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in West Africa, employing 60% of its labor force and contributing 35% of its GDP.1 The sector currently
consumes close to 80% of the region’s water resources, a situation that cannot be sustained in future. Population pressure, coupled with economic growth and rising energy consumption, will boost demand for water, intensifying competition between industrial, domestic and agricultural uses.

Helping farmers improve their water management is critical, if they are to succeed in feeding more people with less water and cope with climate change impacts. Most of West Africa’s farmers are smallholders, and their production depends primarily on rainfall.


Solar-powered irrigation

R4D Capabilities - Solar-powered irrigation
R4D Capabilities – Solar-powered irrigation

Solar power is poised to revolutionize water use in agriculture, providing an attractive means for farmers to irrigate their crops. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has demonstrated the potential to add value through a variety of applications, drawing on its multidisciplinary expertise and wealth of experience in research for development.

Given the highly variable cost of fossil fuels, solar panels today offer farmers a cheap and renewable source of power for pumping water, whether from ground or surface water bodies. While larger pumps make it possible for service providers to deliver irrigation to others, smaller units create the potential for smallholders in rainfed agriculture to provide supplementary irrigation, thus boosting productivity and enhancing resilience.

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IWMI office locations and countries where we have projects underway.
IWMI office locations and countries where we have projects underway.

Africa regional office and West Africa office
Accra, Ghana
Tel: +233 302 784753/4 or +233 289 109561/+233 544 088 277
Email: iwmi-ghana@cgiar.org

East Africa office
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 6172000/6457222/23
Email: iwmi-ethiopia@cgiar.org

Southern Africa office
Pretoria, South Africa
Tel: +27 12 845 9100
Email: iwmi-southern_africa@cgiar.org

Middle East and North Africa office
Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +202 35724358
Email: iwmi-mena@cgiar.org