The report addresses a twofold objective, in order to provide an overview of:

- the Human Capacity Development (HCD) priorities in the water sector in Africa;
- the Development Priorities of the Water Sector placed in the context of Agri-Energy sectors

The activity was implemented based on both the information gathered by the European Commission
Joint Research Centre and available through strategic policy, planning and programme documents
of the project partner institutions and key continental and regional organisations, addressing water,
food, energy and ecosystems security in Africa.
HCD priorities in the water sector in Africa
The demand for human capacity development in the water sector is defined by the role water plays
in Africa’s ambitions for socio-economic development as espoused by the African Union Agenda
2063. A key priority area of Agenda 2063 is water security. The report, therefore, employs the UN
definition of water security, which is developing the capacity “… to safeguard sustainable access to
adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and
socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and waterrelated
disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability” (UN
Water, 2013). By this approach, the continental aspirations for growth and transformation are
juxtaposed with the influence of water access and use on overall economic output. In this
perspective, capacity constraints in the water sector are understood to pose grave implications for
the realisation of Africa’s development agenda.
Due cognisance is also given to the strategic directions of the education and training sector to
develop the requisite human capital to sustain the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful
Africa. And it being that improvement of water wisdom is one of the facets of that undertaking, the
ongoing strategic reforms in the education and training sector provide the framework within which
the water sector HCD priorities are identified.
The review, thus, focused on the following documents:
i) the African Union agenda 2063: “the Africa we want”;
ii) the Africa water vision 2025 and framework for action;
iii) the AfDB human capital strategy for Africa;
iv) the continental education strategy for Africa;
v) the Science, technology and innovation strategy for Africa;
vi) the African space policy and strategy;
vii) the agreement on the African resources management satellite constellation;
viii) the continental strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET);
ix) the AMCOW strategy 2018 – 2030;
x) the AMCOW policies and strategies on mainstreaming the youth and gender in the water and
sanitation sector in Africa;
xi) various decisions and declarations of the policy organs of the African Union and the African
Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW); and,
xii) relevant human capacity development instruments currently under implementation by the East
African Community; the Economic Community of West African States; the Intergovernmental
Authority on Development; the Southern African Development Community and the Union du
Maghreb Arabe.
Four broad categories of priorities are deduced from the derivational linkages between the African
Union clarion call for a revolution to a knowledge-based and productive society; and the vitality of
a vibrant water sector to the advent of sustainable development in Africa. And as such, the water
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sector HCD priorities are identified within the framework of the strategic reforms in the education
and training sector as follows:
i) Building critical skills – particularly as relates to sustainable development, utilisation and
management of water and related resources – to enhance economic growth and social
transformation. The strategy is to utilise approaches encouraging technological empowerment,
e-education and adaptive learning. To this end, the centres of excellence in water sciences and
technology (CoEs) have to be strengthened into a fully functional, Africa-wide knowledge and
excellence network. In turn, the network will play a significant role in fostering opportunities
for development and water knowledge sharing across all AU Member States.
ii) Fostering transformation in the TVET sector to integrate flexibility, adaptability and continuous
learning in education and training supply. For the water and sanitation sector, it is imperative
to: a) develop and institute officially recognised vocations for the water and wastewater
sectors; and, b) raise the level of prestige and attractiveness of sanitation related occupations.
iii) Supporting space science and astronomy research, teaching and outreach. There are numerous
underdeveloped opportunities for the application of space science and technology to effectively
manage resources such as water, land, forests, and marine ecosystems. The use of space
technology is also of vital importance in generating sorely needed information to support
decision making for the sustainable utilisation of the resources.
iv) Recognition of competences from non-formal and informal education and training. The
overarching goal is twofold. First, enable tapping into existing technological preferences,
cultural practices, local values and traditions of community learning to impart life skills. And,
secondly, contribute to mainstreaming indigenous water and pollution management knowledge
into lifelong learning systems.
Specific scientific, technical and institutional priorities are defined under each of the above
mentioned broad themed categories. The specific priorities provide entry points for implementing
the AMCOW human capacity development programme to address junior professional and technician
level capacity challenges in Africa.
Outside the AU-NEPAD African network of centres of excellence in water sciences and technology
(CoEs), the key identified institutional partners include: the pan-African University; the African
Scientific, Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC); the African Observatory of Science,
Technology and Innovation (AOSTI); the Africa Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology
Education (ARCSSTE); the African Association of Remote Sensing and Environment (AARSE);
African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD); the African Regional
Institute for Geospatial Science and Technology (AfRIGST); the Association for the Development of
Education in Africa (ADEA); the pan-African Institute of Education for Development (IPED); the
Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE); the Global e-Schools and Communities
Initiatives (GeSCI); the International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED);
the Africa Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA); and the Pan African Association for
Literacy and Adult Education (PAALAE ).
An implementation, monitoring and evaluation framework is also defined. It delineates roles and
responsibilities for the policy organs of the African Union and AMCOW; the AMCOW Secretariat; the
Commissions of the African Union and the European Union; the EC Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC)
and UNESCO-IHP; the regional networks of the centres of excellence; and the individual centres of
excellence. These span leveraging of political and financial commitment; resources mobilisation;
coordination of funding and implementing partners; periodic planning and reporting; and project
management oversight and accountability for resources and results.
Development Priorities of the Water Sector placed in the context of Agri-Energy sectors
The report provides an overview on the Development Priorities of the Water Sector in Africa, placed
in the context of Agri-Energy sectors. Based on the analysis of information gathered through
strategic documents and deliveries of the ACEWATER2 project partner institutions and
organisations, the report synthesises the development priorities of the water sector in Africa within
the context of the express plans for productive use of water in the sectors of energy and agriculture.
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Further to the above mentioned policy, planning and programme documents, other resources
specific to the assessment of water, food, energy and ecosystems security in Africa are referenced:
i) reports from the African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting
(WASSMO) System;
ii) the Africa water investment programme;
iii) the comprehensive Africa agriculture development programme (CAADP);
iv) the programme for infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA);
v) the water, climate and development programme (WACDEP) and
vi) the African water resources management priority action programme 2016 - 2025 (WRMPAP).
The key emerging priorities from the analysis can be summarised as follows:
i) Promoting a new narrative on water that recognises the full potential of water in the
economy to further Africa’s future development needs. The new narrative should foster
an appreciation of the vitality of water in economic growth; job creation; and
ii) Strengthening the business case for water investments, as well as raising the profile of
water in national and regional development in Africa. The economies of many countries
in Africa are extremely vulnerable to climate variability and climate change as they are
largely based on natural resources (water, land, energy, forests/ecosystems). Lack of
investments to enhance human and institutional capacities; build infrastructure; and
improve information systems to support water management exacerbate the difficulties.
To overcome these challenges – and achieve the SDGs – it is imperative for
governments, societies and the private sector to fully embrace the concept of
environmental security. A paradigm shift in the approach to developing, utilising and
managing Africa’s water and related resources is urgently required.
iii) Water infrastructure development should be advocated for and promoted as a means to
provide a service – which is water – to the economy in order to enable growth and
development to happen. Water sector interventions, especially for such resource
management functions as water storage and flood control, should not be designed and
marketed from the perspective of ‘water sector development’. Rather, the approach to
packaging them for investment should be centred on their eventual utility – from an
economic perspective – in terms of providing water for food and energy production. This
should be extended to the opportunities for employment and wealth creation: not to
mention peace, social security and political stability.
iv) Strategies to improve the investment outlook for water and related resources
development will also benefit from the application of the High Level Panel on Water
(HLPW)1 principles for valuing water. The principles provide a guideline for determining
the real value of proposed investments; the associated costs; and the benefits that can
be expected. In essence, they serve the purpose of improving the appreciation of the
economics of water in a country, river basin or region. The application of the principles
– together with targeted interventions to catalyse change – holds promise for delivering
sustainable solutions for assuring water for energy, food and environmental security in
v) Application of the Water-Energy-Food-and-Ecosystems nexus approach to promote and
facilitate investment led transboundary management and governance of water and
environmental resources. The aim is to consolidate and capitalise on the achievements
1 The High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) was co-convened in 2016 by the UN Secretary General and the World
Bank President to provide the leadership required to tackle one of the world's most pressing challenges –
an ever growing water crisis. It identified ways in which the world could accelerate progress towards
ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6).
Page | 6
to-date of implementing the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management. It is
thus important to revitalise implementation of the following ongoing initiatives:
a. establishing economic accounting for water as a discipline to, among others,
improve the financing and investment outlook for water resources management
in Africa;
b. improving national-level capacities for collecting complete and reliable hydrometeorological
and piezometrical data in all of Africa’s 64 shared river basins;
c. applying nexus perspective solutions to assure water, food and energy security
in Africa;
d. improving agricultural water management;
e. implementing the PIDA priority transboundary water and energy projects;
f. enhancing use of wastewater and sludge, as appropriate and acceptable, for
nutrient recovery in agriculture and bio-gas energy production;
g. standardising regulatory frameworks for agricultural water management across
h. developing and adopting legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the
collection and treatment of wastewater to a minimum water quality standard
before discharge into transboundary water courses and aquifers; and,
i. supporting Member States, R/LBOs and RECs to conduct water resources
assessments as well as supporting them to monitor and manage groundwater



- Annex 68: Mbaziira R. (author), Carmona-Moreno C., Crestaz E., Farinosi F., Biedler M. (Editors), 2021. Establishing common water sector priorities in Africa: Human Capacity Development and Water sector in the framework of the agri-energy sectors. JRC Technical Report, JRC123561, Ispra, European Commission





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