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Expert Workshop on Answering the Call for an African Water Revolution

27 - 28 June 2018

Kigali, Rwanda

The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) hosted the Expert Workshop on Answering the Call for an African Water Revolution at the Kigali Serena Hotel on 27th-28th June 2018. During the workshop, participants from governments, multilateral, bilateral and academic institutions, philanthropic foundations and the private sector identified what it takes to scale up green water investments across Africa and design a process in advance of a High-Level Roundtable in January 2019.

The aim of the workshop is to develop a vision for the “Call for an African Water Revolution” and set objectives for the High- Level Roundtable. Discussions will focus on scaling Green Water technologies, options for financing the African Green Water Revolution and how best to garner the support of African leaders and the donor community for this important initiative. The workshop is the first in a series of related events throughout 2018. The opening ceremony of the workshop was officiated by Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI); Dr. Belay Begashaw, Director General, Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A), and the keynote address was delivered by Mr. Jean Claude Kayisinga, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

Green’ water is defined as water derived from rainfall which is available in the soil for plant growth through evapotranspiration. Africa faces rising water challenges due to higher demand caused by rapid population growth, urbanization, increasing food demands, depletion of natural water resources and climate change. Close to 70% of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa are engaged in rain-fed subsistence farming and facing increasingly variable rainfall patterns. One third of people across the continent are currently facing food insecurity, and there is an urgent need to solve the hunger crisis. There is a unique opportunity to achieve water resilience based on the efficient use of green water across Sub-Saharan Africa with potential impacts on farmers and whole economies. Green water is infiltrated rainfall water which is stored in the upper layers of the soil and available to plant roots. Proven and cost effective solutions can maximize the capture, storage and utilization of green water which enhance food production and reduce vulnerability to climate variability and climate change. A practical, low cost and sustainable approach for the “invisible majority” across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The workshop convened 80 participants ranging from 16 countries, who had the opportunity to visit the Rwamagana-34 site, part of the Government of Rwanda’s Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation Project, on Thursday, 28th June 2018. The project uses a combination of techniques and technologies in the construction and management of the land (e.g. soil bunds, terraces, waterways, afforestation and reforestation), developing land husbandry practices for both rain-fed and irrigated hillside agriculture.

Overall, the workshop sessions highlighted the current crisis facing Africa’s silent majority and discussed the potential of green water, its role in rain-fed agriculture and how to maximize its capture, storage and utilization. In addition, the sessions discussed the best practice and the challenge of scaling green water solutions; which financial approaches would be most appropriate to scale up green water solutions and what it will take to scale up green water investments across Africa including the case for public financing and integrating green and blue water investments.

For more information, please contact the meeting organizers at


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