Where do we get our mandate from?

In September 2000, African countries and the International community adopted the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations Millennium Summit. African leaders have identified water scarcity and related water insecurity as one of the sources of the Continent’s underdevelopment and increasing socio-economic decline.

The first conference of the African Ministers Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST), held in Johannesburg in 2003, adopted Water Science and Technology (S&T) as one of the main flagship programmes of NEPAD (click here to view the declaration). Thus, in the framework of the NEPAD, the leaders have committed themselves to “ensure sustainable access to safe and adequate clean water supply and sanitation, especially for the poor” and they adopted that S&T will play an important role in water development, supply and management and that S&T is crucial for assessing, monitoring and ensuring water and sanitation supply, conservation and quality. The flagship programme should strengthen the Continent’s capabilities to harness and apply S&T to address challenges of securing adequate clean water as well as managing the Continent’s resources to become a basis for National and Regional cooperation and development.

On 22 November 2006, the African Ministers responsible for Science and Technology and Water (AMCOST and AMCOW) met in Cairo, Egypt. By resolution, delegates committed themselves to establish an African Network of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology Development (click here to view the declaration).

Another milestone was concluded during the 11th General Assembly of AMCOW of 2013 in Cairo, Egypt, where the AU/NEPAD Centres of Excellence was mandated “to develop a Human Capacity Development Programme aimed at addressing junior professional and technician level capacity challenges in the water sector”. Decision: EXCO/11/2013/CAIRO/17. To view the decisions of this meeting click here (Refer to point 12 in the document on page 5).

In 2018/2019, a further decision was adopted by the AMCOW General Assembly which “directs the [AMCOW] Secretariat to work with the AUC and NEPAD Centres of Excellence to support the understanding of patterns of knowledge and skills demand and migration in order to both strengthen the resilience of the Africa’s Water Resources Sector at national and transboundary level; and promote Youth Employment.” Decision: GA/11/2018/LBV/7. To view the decisions of this meeting, click here. (Refer to point 7 in the document on page 5).

SADC Regional Institutionalisation.

During the annual meeting of the SADC Water Resource Technical Committee, held in Lusaka, Zambia in 2013, it was recommended, and subsequently adopted by the SADC Ministers of Water that:

  1. Approve the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE Business Plan (Section;
  2. Approve the proposal for AU/NEPAD SANWATCE to be the implementing agent for the Water Research Fund for Southern Africa (WARFSA 2.0), a programme of SADC Water Division (Section
  3. Collaborate with WaterNet

To view an extract of the record of the meeting, click here.

To further institutionalise the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE in the SADC region, the SADC Ministers responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation, Education and Training, held in Maputo, Mozambique (June 2014), ministers noted and supported the activities of the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE and called upon Member States to nominate institutions to form part of the Regional Network.

Co-operation with the European Commission

As a flagship programme of the AU/NEPAD, the Networks of Water Centres of Excellence have also been identified as key partner in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), which provides a high-level co-operation platform for the EU and African partners. To read more about the JAES, click here.

The current members consist of institutions from seven SADC countries, which include South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the objective to include and fully integrate at least one institution from all SADC countries.

Read more about our plans to expand the network