AMCOW Pan-African Groundwater Program


AMCOW (African Minister’s Council on Water) organised an Experts and Stakeholders’  workshop (Nairobi, 1-2 October 2019) on development of the Pan-African Groundwater Program (APAGroP) as a platform for all groundwater stakeholders in Africa. The concept of the APAGroP was presented along the major current groundwater activities across the continent, followed by fruitful discussion about program’s modalities and priorities. IGRAC actively contributed to the workshop. 

Already in 2008, AMCOW launched a strategic framework, a 'Roadmap for an Africa Groundwater Initiative' and the Africa Groundwater Commission (AGC) was set up. The main target of the framework was making groundwater better represented in the continent’s major strategic programs around water. The commission met several times in last decade and its position was analysed during the stakeholder meeting in the  Africa Water Weeks in Tanzania in 2016 and Gabon in 2019, resulting in a suggestion and initiative on a Pan-African Groundwater Program as a knowledge brokering and supporting facility. 

The Nairobi workshop gathered stakeholders from all parts of Africa, representatives of regional organisations (e.g. ECOWAS, IGAD), regional groundwater-related institutions (e.g. OSS, SADC-GMI), organisations supporting/implementing groundwater programmes in Africa (BGR, BGS, IWMI, UNESCO), academia and financial institutions. The workshop was supported by the successful UPGro programme as a part of a programme’s rounding off legacy and ownership activity. 

IGRAC initiatives in Africa

AMCOW meeting in Nairobi
AMCOW meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

IGRAC has been active in Africa since 2005, mostly working on international groundwaters. Accordingly, IGRAC was asked to present on Assessing Transboundary Aquifers (TBAs) in Africa: Lessons Learned and a Way Forward. In short, a significant progress has been made in delineation of TBAs in Africa, but detailed assessments are seldom and still miss prioritisation and zoning (definition of impact zones) to foster further collaboration at the local scale. Besides prioritisation and zoning, in the way forward, IGRAC also argued for scaling up of groundwater monitoring, better embedding of groundwater in the context of relevant broader societal/environmental issues and better integration of groundwater management in transboundary river basin organisations.      

On short term, IGRAC suggested a development of pan-African groundwater portal, merely by customising already existing GGIS portal, complemented with current ANBO project activities and map information provided by partners (e.g. BGS) and linking to other regional and country-based portals all over the continent (e.g SADC-GMI and OSS). 

AMCOW will provide the conclusions from the workshops and act accordingly through a newly established groundwater desk at the AMCOW Secretariat. IGRAC is looking forward contributing APAGroP in various ways, certainly including  preparation for the Year of Groundwater in 2022.