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Southern Africa water cooperation will rely on donors

Monday, January 19, 2015

Subject

The outlook for trans-border water governance in southern Africa.

Significance

In order to avert potential conflicts over shared water resources, international donors are supporting programmes to increase Southern African Development Community (SADC) states' capacity to manage trans-boundary rivers. However, there remains a disjuncture between intentions contained in policy and the strength of institutions necessary to facilitate peaceful water-sharing.

Impacts

  • Given Lesotho's substantial water resources, South Africa will remain closely engaged in ensuring a smooth election process in February.
  • Piecemeal progress on water cooperation could provide the foundation for deepening regional integration in other areas, eg power supplies.
  • Initiatives to grow power generation through hydroelectric schemes will increase pressure in IRBOs, testing their dispute mechanisms.
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