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

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 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:

•         European Union

•         UK Aid

•         Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

•         Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

•         Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

•         Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

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)

•         Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)

•         Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)

•         Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

•         Government of Somalia

West and Central Africa

•         Niger Basin Authority (NBA)

•         Volta Basin Authority (VBA)

•         Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC)

•         Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS)

Southern Africa

•         Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM)

•         Zambezi River Authority (ZRA)

•         SADC-Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI)

•         Southern African Development Community (SADC)

•         Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) Secretariat

Annual report

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.

Rapport Annuel

Découvrez le rapport annuel 2022 de CIWA

Le cœur du travail de la CIWA est de réunir les pays dans le but de coopérer plus efficacement et avec moins de friction sur des projets et des infrastructures dont l'impact dépasse les frontières.



CIWA Program Info: