Water reform in Sub-Saharan Africa: what is the difference? uri icon

abstract

  • Since the early 1990s African governments took an active part in the global movement of water reform towards Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The first step consisted primarily of assimilating the generic principles of IWRM. At this generic level, water reform in Sub-Saharan Africa seems quite similar to water reform elsewhere in the developed and developing world. However, in taking the second step of operationalizing generic principles into concrete actions on the ground, at least three salient differences between Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere emerged: (a) Africa's relative abundance of water resources but its scarcity of economic means to harness available water resources; (b) the importance of agriculture and agricultural water development for economic growth and poverty eradication; and (c) the need for systems of water rights and financial resource mobilization that are separated and suit the African reality in which large water users are relatively few, while the bulk of water users are scattered smallholders. This paper discusses the early operationalization with regard to these three unique features and identifies lessons learnt. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

publication date

  • 2003
  • 2003