Water, conflicts, and cooperation - Water management in West Africa: Risks and opportunities

Oxfam International

West Africa has not been home to any « water wars » throughout the last decades. Yet, a lack of war does not equate to a lack of conflicts: today, West Africa is experiencing a growing scarcity in water resources that gives way to frictions among governments, between those governments and their population, and among users within the states. As an international security issue, water is now the subject of various tensions, but also of several multilateral forums, such as the basin organizations. Conflict and cooperation can also be simultaneously observed at a domestic level, where sponsors of an efficiency-based water governance compete against rights-based approaches. This paper aims to provide an overview of the conflict and cooperation nexus behind water governance in contemporary West Africa.