Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA)


Today, Africa has around 1.3 billion inhabitants and is projected to reach an estimated 2.8 billion by 2060. The continent has a huge potential to reduce poverty, enhance the energy efficiency, and mitigate climate risks by sustainably managing and using its abundant natural resources like water.

CIWA is addressing some of the many challenges that Africa faces, including a lack of access to safe drinking water–only 58 percent of Africans have access–and climate change impacts by sustainably managing and developing the continent’s water resources. Without concrete climate action and climate-sensitive development, as many as 86 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa could be forced to relocate by 2050 from water scarcity, sea level rise and storm surges, and declines in crop and ecosystem productivity.

Tapping into Africa’s water resources can significantly strengthen the region’s water security, improve livelihoods, and spur economic growth. Improved water resources management can increase food security, reduce vulnerability to climate change, improve human health and sanitation, and increase energy generation and industrial expansion.

With 90 percent of the water in Africa falling within 63 river basin catchments crossed by multiple borders, water resources management and development must be a cooperative endeavor. CIWA works to strengthen institutions, improve knowledge, develop investment opportunities, and train governments to cooperate across shared waters.


Since 2011, the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) partnership has supported riparian governments in Sub-Saharan Africa to fuel sustainable, inclusive, climate-resilient growth by addressing constraints to cooperative management and development of transboundary waters.

Managed by the World Bank, CIWA makes investments to develop water infrastructure and offers technical support and analyses to create a better understanding of transboundary water issues so that governments, river basin organizations, and other stakeholders can make sound, evidence-based decisions.

CIWA achieves its goals by focusing on its three I’s

Information: for understanding risks, better decision-making, and monitoring compliance

Institutions: to build trust, coordinate planning, and manage shared resources

Investment: to manage watersheds, develop groundwater, build storage, among others

Managed by the World Bank, CIWA is a neutral third-party facilitator providing technical support, and critical analysis to create a better understanding of the transboundary water issues for making informed decisions.


CIWA has a three-pronged approach to delivering results–deploying strategies to strengthen and enhance institutions, information, and infrastructure. CIWA supports: 

1) Sustained Engagements with priority basins. CIWA strengthens foundational elements such as data, legal agreements, institutions, and investment and operational plans. 

2) Strategic Engagements contribute to high-impact projects through analytical efforts, capacity-building, and technical assistance.

3) Knowledge Generation and Management initiatives strengthen the evidence base to create tools to manage international waters.  

CIWA provides a platform to support national governments, regional and international organizations, and civil society to ensure that stakeholders’ concerns are addressed and benefits are equitably distributed. 

CIWA’s activities are cross-sectoral, including Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI), Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV), climate resilience, biodiversity conservation, data initiatives, energy, agriculture, social issues, and the environment. The partnership works to ensure that people and property are protected from water-related shocks and that they can sustain and use the valuable resource of water.


Last Updated: March 15, 2022

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2024

Learn more about our programs by navigating the CIWA website:

In West and Central Africa:

In East Africa:

In Horn of Africa:

In Southern Africa:

All CIWA publications are available on the Cooperation in International Water’s Website at

Annual reports

  • CIWA Annual Report 2022 - The heart of CIWA’s work is convening countries with the goal of cooperating more effectively and with less friction on projects and infrastructure whose impact crosses borders.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2021 - Amid the global pandemic, CIWA’s work to ensure water access to sustain lives, increase peace and prosperity, and improve resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa is more important than ever.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2020 - In FY20, CIWA expanded its portfolio in important regions while laying emphasis on cross cutting issues such as gender and social inclusion, climate resilience, and fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). In this year's report, we share the status of our ongoing projects and provide a glimpse of our new and upcoming activities.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2019 - A year ago, CIWA committed to deepening its engagement in fragile and conflict-affected situations. In this 2019 Annual Report, we discuss the progress made toward this commitment, particularly in the Horn of Africa.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2018 - CIWA's FY18 advances, cumulative progress, and project highlights are detailed in this annual report microsite.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2017 - The 2017 annual report showcases the results achieved in FY2017.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2016 - The 2016 annual report showcases the results achieved in FY2016, including influencing $9.9 billion dollars in investment financing – investments projected to potentially benefit 47.8 million people. The report also highlights the breadth of CIWA activities, which include support for analytical work to create a shared understanding and facilitate cooperative development and management of international waters.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2015  - The report highlights the substantial progress in FY15 toward strengthening cooperative management and development of transboundary waters in Sub-Saharan Africa for climate-resilient growth. CIWA’s work in seven basins influenced US$8.9 billion in investment financing projected to potentially benefit 48.6 million people.
  • CIWA Annual Report 2014 - The 2014 Annual Report showcases the breadth of CIWA’s portfolio, describing the program’s engagements across the continent in East, West and Southern Africa primarily in the Nile, Niger, Volta, and Zambezi basins. Important catalytic activities, including the Political Economy of Cooperation, a Multi-Sector Opportunities Analysis in the Okavango Basin and efforts to make important water and climate information more accessible through the Spatial Agent app are also featured.

Our latest CIWA Blogs are available here:

Our latest CIWA Videos are available here:

Our latest CIWA Podcast are available here:

Our latest CIWA Bulletins are available here:


CIWA has financial support from the following partners:

•         Austrian Development Cooperation

•         Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

•         European Union

•         Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

•         Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

•         Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

•         UK Aid

CIWA funds organizations including governments, river basin organizations, regional economic communities, civil society organizations, and African regional and national institutions in addressing transboundary water management issues and development. Our key partners include:

East Africa

Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)– The 3 NBI centers have worked with CIWA since CIWA’s launch in 2011. They have received two major recipient executed grants, Nile Cooperation for Results and Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience, and several supporting BETFs. In the first phase of collaboration, activities mainly focused on enhancing basin wide water, energy, and food security through CIWA’s 3 Is. Under NCCR, the project is focused more on adaptation and addresses the region’s immediate and long-term climate adaptation issues with floods, droughts, water quality, dam safety and related issues. 

Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)– Through the Engaging Civil Society for Social and Climate Resilience in the Nile Basin project (an RETF), NBD strengthened civil society participation in development processes and programs to ensure that their benefits were equitable, contributed to building communities’ climate resilience, and responded to community priorities. The NBD is the only organization in the region with the network, technical expertise, and resources capable of carrying out crucial community-level dialogues. NBD continues to work with CIWA through the Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience project. 

Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)– In 2021, the LVBC joined CIWA as a recipient on the Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience RETF with the NBI and NBD. This was preceded LVBC’s work with CIWA through the Great Lakes Water Quality ASA.  

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)– In 2019, CIWA’s Horn of Africa Groundwater Initiative supported IGAD to ramp up technical expertise in groundwater resource management and development and supported five countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia) to begin planning for improved regional integration around water security. CIWA’s active Untapping Resilience grant is complementing the regional International Development Association (IDA) funded Groundwater for Resilience Program through enhancing the capacity of implementing entities (especially IGAD) to gather, analyze, and use data to mitigate risk, learn, and adjust, including through state-of-the-art remote monitoring tools. 

Government of Somalia– From 2019-2021, CIWA’s grant, Support to a Transboundary Water Resources Management, focused on supporting Somalia’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to build the data and information foundation needed for transboundary water cooperation, while building institutional capacity, human capital, and transboundary aquifer knowledge. As noted for IGAD above, Somalia is one of the client countries in the Groundwater for Resilience Program benefitting from CIWA’s Untapping Resilience grant. 

West and Central Africa

Niger Basin Authority (NBA)– CIWA has provided support to the Niger River Basin through two projects, including one recipient-executed project, implemented by the NBA, and one bank-executed project. CIWA projects were largely informed by the ‘2007 Sustainable Development Action Plan’ for the Niger Basin. While there is only one CIWA BETF currently active that is relevant to the Niger Basin, it is one of the four priority basins for sustained support and CIWA is looking for opportunities for reengagement at the level of a recipient executed project.  

Volta Basin Authority (VBA)– The CIWA project in the Volta River Basin closed in August 2019. During the project, VBA facilitated ratification of a Water Charter to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for sustainable management of basin water and associated environmental resources. 

Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC)– CIWA has provided support to the Lake Chad Basin through two Bank-executed ASAs, Lake Chad Dialogue and Lake Chad Transboundary Water Security. The recently completed Water Security Assessment is informing the preparation of new activities. 

Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS) (update in progress)

Southern Africa

Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM)– Form 2015-2019 CIWA worked with ZAMCOM to through the Zambezi River Basin Management Project to develop a series of studies and tools that led to creation a decision support system and a Strategic Plan for the Basin. 

Zambezi River Authority (ZRA)– Zambezi River Basin Development Project had the objective of advancing the preparation of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (HES) and strengthening cooperative development within the ZRB. It principally targeted the technical feasibility and the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) studies, but also included a series of additional technical and legal studies that sustained the preparation of the HES and strengthened the ZRA. This project also ended in 2019.  

SADC-Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI)– The SADC-GMI led CIWA’s first active project through the Sustainable Groundwater Management in SADC Member States, which was followed by a phase 2 project that is currently active. The projects operationalized the SADC-GMI as a regional center of excellence for the Region and advanced scientific research on groundwater.  

Southern African Development Community (SADC)– The SADC secretariat worked with CIWA’s Southern Africa Drought Resilience Initiative (SADRI) and is now part of the phase 1 Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Climate Resilience Program (RCRP) that CIWA will begin supporting with a BETF this year. The work aimed to build the analytical and institutional foundations to catalyze national and regional investment in integrated drought resilience and to take an integrated and proactive approach to water risks. 

Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM)– At the request of OKACOM member states CIWA and OKACOM developed MSIOA tools in the Okavango basin from 2016-2017. This work has resulted in putting forward the endowment fund for Okavango (Cubango Okavango River Basin fund, now being proposed by OKACOM and The Nature Conservancy in 2021).  

Annual report

CIWA Annual Report 2023

The CIWA Annual Report 2023—Water Knows No Boundaries: For a climate-resilient and peaceful Africa--, features regional sections that provide deeper dives into each of CIWA’s grants and CIWA’s progress on cross-cutting themes.

Rapport Annuel

Rapport annuel 2023 de CIWA

Le rapport annuel 2023 de la CIWA – L’eau ne connaît pas de frontières : Pour une Afrique résiliente au climat et en paix – présente des sections régionales qui approfondissent chacune des subventions de la CIWA et les progrès de CIWA sur des thèmes transversaux.



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