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Expression of Interest: CENTRAL/EASTERN AFRICA – Call for membership


AU/NEPAD Central/Eastern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence


  • This document is a call for Expression of Interest for Universities and Research Institutions in Water Sciences to constitute and become members of the AU/NEPAD Central and Eastern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE).
  • AU/NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence have already been established in Southern Africa (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) and Western Africa (AU/NEPAD WANWATCE).
  • For this call, membership is primarily targeted at countries in Central and Eastern Africa who do not currently have representation in the AU/NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence, and include institutions in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.
  • Each country should answer to the call with no more than one application. Exemptions should be duly justified. Technical or Research bodies of Regional Economic Communities could also apply.
  • The network also require a secretariat. Interested institutions should apply providing any supporting documentation.
  • Minimum requirements/conditions for application and criteria for selection of applicants are provided.
  1. About the AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE.
  2. Where do we get our mandate from?
  3. Aim of this call
  4. Thematic pillars.
  5. Eligibility and institutional requirements.
  6. Selection criteria.
  7. Evaluation of applications.
  8. Submission and selection process.
  9. Timeline.
  10. How to apply.
  11. Additional information and enquiries.

1.     About the AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE

The AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE will be a network of Higher Education – and Research institutions across Central and Eastern Africa, in charge of conducting high-end scientific research in the water and related sectors. This network will be part of the AU/NEPAD initiative on Water Centres of Excellence.

The ultimate objective of the AU/NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence initiative is to strengthen institutional networking and improve research support to policymaking in the water sector in the African continent.


2.     Where do we get our mandate from?

On 22 November 2006, the African Ministers responsible for Water and the African Ministers responsible for Science and Technology (AMCOW and AMCOST) met in Cairo, Egypt. By resolution, delegates committed themselves to establish an African Network of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology Development. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD) was appointed to oversee the activities of the Water Centres of Excellence.

Based on this resolution, the Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) and Western African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD WANWATCE) were established, focusing on addressing the Research and Capacity Development needs within African regions.

Current membership of the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE include:

  1. Stellenbosch University (South Africa) – as the hub and secretariat of the Southern African network
  2. International Centre for Water Economics and Governance in Africa (Mozambique) – Node
  3. University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) – Node
  4. University of Western Cape (South Africa) – Node
  5. University of Malawi (Malawi) – Node
  6. University of Zambia (Zambia) – Node
  7. University of Botswana (Botswana) – Node
  8. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR (South Africa) – Node
  9. Polytechnic of Namibia (Namibia) – Node
  10. National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe) – Node
  11. University of Mauritius (Mauritius) – Node

Current membership of the AU/NEPAD WANWATCE include:

    1. University of Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal) – as hub and secretariat of the Western African network)
    2. International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) (Burkina Faso) – Node
    3. University of Benin (Nigeria) – Node
    4. National Water Resources Institute (Nigeria) – Node
    5. Kwame Nkrumah University for Sciences and Technology (Ghana) – Node


3.     Aim of this call

This Call for Expression of Interest aims to establish an AU/NEPAD Network of Water Centres of Excellence in Central and East Africa. Countries that are invited to submit an application are: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.


4.     Thematic pillars

The scientific activities to be developed and implemented within the framework of the AU/NEPAD Network of Water Centres of Excellence initiative address the following four thematic pillars:

  • Climate Analysis: surface hydrology; climate variability – change; modelling methods and techniques; data collection, including quality, sharing and processing; statistical analysis, scenario based simulation assessment of climate impacts: droughts (water availability) and floods;
  • WEF (Water-Energy-Food nexus): scenario-based analysis on different types of water allocation, use and consumption, including socio-economic patterns; water quantity, allocation to competing uses and the equity principle; irrigation management practices, seawater desalination; impact of human settlements, agriculture (fertilisers, nutrients), industries (mining) on water quality; energy, hydro-power production (and multi-purpose); land and soil degradation (loss of fertility, erosion), sediment transport, reservoir sedimentation;
  • Groundwater: challenges of aquifers systems characterization (geometry, hydrogeological properties); recharge/storage/discharge assessment; impact on groundwater quality; artificial recharge; specific issues such as drilling techniques, monitoring strategies;
  • Water Governance & Diplomacy: participatory approaches on water governance; institutional networking, including management of data repositories; assessment and impact of different water governance practices; methodologies and tools for water diplomacy; assessment of cooperation/conflicts about water.

The above list of topics should be considered as indicative and not exhaustive. Selected Water Centres of Excellence will have the opportunity to develop, implement and contribute to research initiatives and projects around these thematic pillars within the African context, on a case-study basis.

The AU/NEPAD Network of Water Centres of Excellence initiative may contribute, within the limits of the programme supported by the European Commission, to the expenses derived from the collaboration of the African Water Centres of Excellence in research and training activities identified in the framework of the programme. Under no circumstances, it will finance or subsidise institutions and / or operating expenses. International Centres, whether not they are based in Africa may participate in the activities of the network in accordance with the requirements (see point 5), but must take charge of the expenses derived from their participation and activities.


5.     Eligibility and institutional requirements  

As per the original objectives approved by AMCOW and ANCOST, candidate institutions to AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE must demonstrate the following institutional requirements:

  1. Institutional identity—be a recognised non-profit institution working in the field of water resources research and management for at least three years, endowed with legal status under national law;
  2. Existence of and ability to build and sustain a critical mass of internationally or regionally (African) reputed or recognised scientists and/or engineers, technicians, and technology innovators;
  3. An identifiable governance structure with a clear mechanism(s) and hierarchy for making decisions;
  4. Demonstrated role(s) to contribute to human development by adding knowledge to global science or generating specific products in a national or international economic system;
  5. A reasonable measure of stability of operating conditions and funding over a specified period of time;
  6. Organisational dynamism in terms of ability to adjust to and influence the external environment or demonstrated ability of the organisation to renew itself and grow, even during hostile external conditions;
  7. Institutional articulation largely judged by the organisation’s networking capabilities i.e. ability to forge and sustain productive partnerships with other institutions;
  8. Relevance in an institution’s or network’s mission, programmes and outputs of the sustainable development goals set by the country and/or the international community;
  9. Technical/Administrative capacity – possess reliable and effective technical and administrative facilities (offices, labs, equipment, etc.) to deliver a consistent and sustainable level of scientific and technical production;
  10. Financial capacity –have a financial management organisation and personnel with written financial procedures consistent with international standards, a dedicated finance and accounting unit, past experience managing donor funds, delivering yearly external financial audits.

Each country should answer the call with no more than one application; however, exemptions could be evaluated if duly justified. Research and technical bodies of Regional Economic Communities could also apply.


6.     Selection criteria

Applicant Institutions must complete and send the Application Form consisting of the following Sections:

Section I:         details of the Applicant, information regarding the Candidate Institution;

Section II:        a short abstract (between 500 and 1,000 words), detailing the proposal of collaboration and concrete contribution of the Applicant to one or more of the thematic pillars (Climate Analysis, WEF (Water-Energy-Food nexus), Groundwater, Water Governance & Diplomacy);

Section III:      template of excellence criteria duly completed;

Section IV:      declaration of the Applicant. Document attesting that the data provided is correct. It must be signed by the Head of the Candidate Institution;

Section V:       Governmental Support and/or Endorsement must be declared (compulsory on free format). Institutions that are interested in hosting, and possibly supporting, the secretariat of the AU/NEPAD CEANWATCE should provide proofs of motivation, including the following: housing, facilities, financial support, personnel (free format).  


7.     Evaluation of applications

The Evaluation of received applications will be carried out according to the quality of the report (Section II) and excellence criteria (Section III) according to the following table, which provides minimum thresholds and weighting:

  Evaluation Criteria Minimum threshold % Weighting
Section II Relevance to main thematic pillars, and impact on policy/decision making and networking at regional level none 10%
Section III 1. Scientific and technical capacity 10 points 20%
  2. Networking and team working 10 points 20%
  3. Human resources development capacity 6 points 15%
  4. Financial capacity and sustainability None 20%
  5. Capacity to impact public policies on water None 15%

Duly signed Application Form (Section I), Declaration of the Applicant (Section IV) and Governmental Endorsement (Section V) are mandatory. Lack or inaccuracy of these documents will lead the Application to be rejected.


8.     Submission and selection process

Applications will be evaluated by a Selection Committee established for this purpose. The committee will be composed of scientists, experts in capacity building projects, experts in institutional management, experts in new technologies of communication and information, representatives of Regional Economic Communities, AMCOW, NEPAD, SANWATCE, WANWATCE, UNESCO-IHP and relevant services of the European Commission.

The Selection procedure will consist of three steps:

Step 1:      Reception of Applications, administrative and technical assessment of eligibility according to the Evaluation Criteria (minimum thresholds). Based on the weighting method, a minimum number of candidate Institutions will be shortlisted, depending on availability of budget.

Step 2:      Site visits to shortlisted Candidates (to be communicated some few weeks before) and technical audit.

Step 3:      Final decision and communication of the results. Should an application be successful, a process will be initiated to finalise the network agreement. 


9.     Timeline

Institutions should indicate their willingness to become a member of the CEANWATCE by sending their Application by the following date:

Date: 28 February 2017 (Extended to 20 March 2017)

Time: 12:00 (GMT+2)

Upon the submission of a completed application form, a acknowledgement of receipt will be sent within 48 hours. Applications will be reviewed by Review Subcommittee, whereupon the results of the application will be communicated to the contact person, as indicated in the application form.


10.  How to apply  

  1. Download an application form here
  2. Completed application forms can be submitted via e-mail to [email protected]

Only PDF file formats will be accepted.


11.  Additional information and enquiries 

Additional information on the AU/NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence can be accessed at www.nepadwatercoe.org.

Please refer all enquiries to the Programme Manager of the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE (Mr. Nico Elema) at [email protected].


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