Sharing water in Africa
Sharing water in Africa: Comparative analysis of the Limpopo and Orange-Senqu river basins in SADC and the Juba and Shabelle river basins in the Horn of Africa
Respondent: Abdullahi Elmi Mohamed
The research has been conducted at the Division of Land and Water Resources Engineering , KTH. The doctoral thesis was defended in room Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, on October 30, 2014, at 10.00. Faculty opponent was Professor Ashok Swain, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.
The thesis is available here .
As water resources management becomes increasingly critical and many countries in the arid and semi-arid regions are increasingly forced to consider the possibilities of utilizing the water that is available in international rivers. Thus, the concerns relating to the use of international waters in shared rivers are becoming more important. The increasing competition over shared waters may have to lead either to more joint management and cooperation or to conflicts between basin countries.
The purpose of the thesis work has been to analyze management of shared waters in international river basins with case studies from the Limpopo and the Orange River Basins in Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the Juba and Shabelle River Basins in the Horn of Africa (HoA) region, focusing on river cooperation. The methodology employed was a comparative case study analysis through literature review, document analysis, interviews, focus groups and study visits.
While similarities in climatic conditions and population growth stand out when comparing the basins in the two regions, the rivers differ primarily in terms of physical development of the water resources and institutional building for cross-border river cooperation. The Limpopo and Orange-Senqu river basins in the SADC region became reason for cooperation and catalyst of regional integration while the Juba and Shabelle river basins in the HoA has the potential to lead its riparian to conflict. The river basins in SADC established and operationalized functional system of river cooperation with both bilateral and multilateral basin-wide frameworks.
The analysis concludes that management of water resources in internationally shared river basins is effectively affected by issues other than water. Sharing benefits from the shared waters in international rivers require basin-wide river cooperation. There are variety sets of factors that are of great importance for initiating, establishing and operationalizing river basin cooperation.
Key words: Shared water, international river basins; river cooperation; water resources; conflicts; SADC and Horn of African regions.