Thinkpiece 2014: Bhattacharyya et al
Subhes Bhattacharyya, Nicola Bugatti, Hannes Bauer.
De Montfort University; ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
An integrated approach to nexus issues will support development in West Africa.
Governments in the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region are focused on growing the economy, increasing employment and providing basic services. An integrated approach to the nexus of water, energy and food security is of vital importance for this development.
Despite considerable mineral wealth, agricultural potential and water resources, the region includes some of the world’s poorest nations. Nexus issues in the ECOWAS region include:
- Wide gaps exist in household access to electricity: in urban areas the average is 40% but in rural areas access is from 6% to 8%.
- Rural women and children often spend hours a day gathering solid biomass as wood, dung or agricultural waste for daily cooking or drinking water to their homes.
- The increasing population needs huge amounts of solid biomass and charcoal for daily cooking. This has caused a decrease forests in all countries, especially in Nigeria.
- Food security within the nexus approach is strongly related to health of the population: enormous indoor emissions of cooking with solid biomass cause lung and skin diseases and premature deaths.
- 35% of the population lacked access to drinking water in 2010.
- 74% did not have access to improved sanitation.
- Only around 12 per cent of potentially irrigable land is irrigated at present.
- Analysis of trends of agricultural water demand between now and 2025 shows that internal renewable water resources would allow sufficient irrigation to achieve food security in staple crops.
- The region’s hydro-electric potential is also under-exploited, with only 16 per cent of the estimated 25,000 MW within ECOWAS used.
ECOWAS governments are now carrying out initial efforts to integrate the nexus approach into regional policies.
We will map, analyse and synthesize some of these initiatives. Through the mapping and review exercise we will identify the gaps, weaknesses and inconsistencies in current nexus policies; suggest potential for synergies and integration and provide a clear direction for future nexus policy initiatives in the ECOWAS region.
This is just a taster: the full thinkpiece will be published in Autumn 2014.