12.01.2021 Open end
Application Phase
Selection phase
Funding phase

Water Security in Africa (WASA)

Safe access to sustainable water is an essential element in improving living conditions in Africa. Compared with other areas of the world, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa currently has by far the lowest level of access to safely managed water supplies. Significant investments in the water sector can be expected. Innovative water technologies, adapted water infrastructure and forward-looking management concepts are urgently needed. As a result of the German Federal Government's round table on "Creating Perspectives in Africa" the long-term interministerial program "Water Security in Africa (WASA)" was launched with a focus on research and education. The program started in Southern Africa with 13 joint projects in the initial phase. Now a call for proposals for the first main phase in Southern Africa is open.

The WASA program was developed in a joint consultation process with African and German experts from science and practice. It complements the national strategies of the participating countries in Southern Africa. For example, the Water Research Commission in South Africa has earmarked corresponding funding. On a transnational scale, WASA has been developed in collaboration with the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW).

On the German side, the Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) and their subordinate institutions participated in the development of the program under the lead of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). WASA is part of the BMBF strategy "Research for Sustainable Development - FONA".

WASA stands for innovative forms of collaborative partnership with Africa, with a view to strengthening the research landscape, the economy, and civil society. WASA centers on issues that make a crucial contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative actively seeks to leverage the potential for synergy that can be found in activities that are jointly conceived– and more effectively coordinated – in the context of research cooperation, development cooperation, and economic development.

WASA will enable African stakeholders to make more effective use of the huge investments and funding previously directed into the water sector, substantially increasing their impact.

The WASA program started with an initial phase in Southern Africa. From a large number of proposals, 13 projects were selected that ran for 15 months enabling co-design at both project and program levels. On October 10, 2022, a stakeholder information session gave insights into the 13 projects in the WASA initial phase.

At the end of February 2023, a call for proposals was launched for the first WASA main phase in Southern Africa, focusing on research and development activities. Specifically, it is aimed at generating and providing system and action knowledge.

The second main phase will focus on the implementation and transfer of successful concepts and solutions from the previous phases. This includes stronger links to development cooperation measures and economic demand. In an optional follow-up phase, continuation will be ensured by African partners. WASA will be adapted according to the results after each phase, but is basically designed for the long term. Thus, the entire value chain can be covered, from the analysis of R&D needs, through data collection and knowledge generation, to implementation and continuation.

WASA is structured into three thematic areas:

  • Sustainable Water Resources Management
  • Water Infrastructure and Water Technology
  • Hydrological Forecasts and Management of Hydrologic Extreme Events
Information about WASA initial phase projects is available here.

The current call for proposals for the first WASA main phase can be found here. Deadline for submission is June 15, 2023.

An information webinar for potential applicants was held on April 5, 2023. The presentation is availabe for download.

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