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Sharing the Benefits of Large Dams in West Africa



Drawing on the lessons from nearly 50 years of large dam construction in West Africa, we reviewed the literature and consulted stakeholders and governments to better inform the planning of future dams. This research focuses on six large dams in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, and is particularly pertinent given that 39 new dams are planned in the coming years across West Africa. We argue that sharing the benefits of large dams is in everyone’s interests, and actually reduces costs, since it avoids expensive long-term disputes.

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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

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