SADC-EU Water-Energy-Food Nexus Project Inception Workshop rouses interest among key partners in the region

Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) with support from the European Union recently held an inception workshop on NEXUS at the Vaal, South Africa to help address Southern Africa’s complex and interdependent challenges.

The workshop was dedicated for the various stakeholders from the region to review the relevance, design and expected results of the EU-SADC Nexus project.

Head of Infrastructure and Services Directorate, SADC Secretariat Mr. Phera Ramoeli officially opened the workshop noting that development and promotion of national and regional projects on Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus and other sectors were essential.

Ms. Veronica Girardi from the European Commission introduced the "Nexus Dialogues" Programme. The first phase of the program (2016-2019) is expected to strategically steer on-going and newly established demand-driven Nexus policy-dialogue approaches in Africa (Niger and SADC), Latin America, Central Asia and Neighbourhood South regions.

Phase I is expected to establish a nexus framework and identify nexus projects for investment with possibility of considerations in Phase II of the program.  She emphasized that the nexus approach may introduce some innovative financing systems in the region. Olivier Cogels, EU consultant, also made a presentation focusing on the role of RBOs in the nexus approaches.

A number of partners from the SADC region also shared their experiences that are relevant to the WEF Nexus approaches.

Dr. Kenneth Msibi, Senior Water Policy Advisor to SADC Water Division made a simple but practical local Nexus case by demonstrating the linkages between water-food-energy. Others include case presentations by Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF), and University of Zambia on developing nexus assessment models in the Zambezi river basin.

Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) made presentations on the EU-SADC WEF Project, and facilitated discussions (including group works) with the aim of reviewing the project.

Andrew Takawira GWP-SA presenting a paper on NEXUS

Participants of the workshop reviewed the project from the following perspectives:


  1. Nexus Governance/Enabling Environment for Nexus Approaches. The workshop discussed on the kind of nexus governance arrangements required at regional (SADC), basin organization, and country levels.
  2. Identification of Regional Nexus Projects. The participants identified preliminary Nexus projects. They have also identified aspects to be considered in identifying a nexus project.
  3. Nexus capacity and knowledge management. The workshop identified some of capacity and knowledge needs in the region for promoting the nexus approach. It also make a quick identification of partners for knowledge and capacity development.
  4. Nexus financing. Participants attempted to explore on financing innovations that the nexus approach may bring. 

The intentional invitation of the three sectoral departments from the 15 SADC countries has established the basis for initiating a SADC regional mechanism for technical coordination between the three sectors—named SADC WEF Reference Group. The Reference Group is expected to be formally recognized as a regional SADC structure to facilitate technical dialogues on WEF issues.

The workshop brought to fore the desire from different partners expressing interest in collaborating during the implementation of the project, especially around sharing knowledge and experiences. The workshop concluded with an agreement that the Inception Phase of the Project will be completed by end of June 2017, and implementation of the project will commence July 2017.