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External independent review of Global Water Initiative (West Africa) results and approaches

Madiodio Niasse

Report/paper

The overall aim of this external lesson-learning review of the GWI programme in West Africa was to identify and analyse the policy changes brought about by the programme. Carried out between November 2015 and April 2016, the review sought to gauge the scale of these changes and to understand the conditions which produced them, as well as the factors that influence their longer-term consolidation and institutionalisation. More than 130 interviews were held as part of the review.

The review found that GWI has made remarkable progress in influencing policy on water management infrastructure and on land tenure in irrigated areas in West Africa. GWI will leave a significant mark on the region, in particular through its success in making high quality knowledge available in the countries it has operated in, and in the region more widely. GWI experience demonstrates that institutional/legal changes and policy reform are long term processes, where the most significant results are the fruit of sustained commitment. The striking developments noted by the review in terms of benefit sharing and tenure are the outcome of at least 5 to 6 years of continuous GWI engagement.

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Agriculture in large-scale rice irrigation schemes needs to be made to work for both the state, in terms of economic returns and national food security, and for the smallholders whose livelihoods depend on it. When it comes to the development of new dams and large-scale irrigation, more information is needed about their economic viability and how the water, land, and economic benefits can be shared equitably to support local development.

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GWI West Africa: project background