Policy Brief n°4 - Transboundary Governance of the Senegal and Niger Rivers: Historic Analysis and Determining Factors Identification

January 2016 - Bolognesi T., Bréthaut C.


The Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) are recognized as examples of international watercourse governance best practices. Thanks to a set of skills that goes beyond the restrictive framework of flows management, they constitute genuine agencies for economical and social development. Despite their proximity, these organisations differ as their respective path to success undergone highly contingent features. Therefore we propose to compare the evolution of governance with respect to the Senegal and Niger watercourses in order to highlight common factors that led to coordination success as well as specificities of each case. We thereby ensure the tranposability of each model.

Our analysis builds upon a literature review of the main cooperation factors around water. We look at the long-term evolution of these factors in order to put them in perspective in the evolution of the governance regime. With the objective of reinforcing this analysis, a consultative roundtable of experts and stakeholders of the region has been held. The inputs provided enabled to better capture the initial links established between the respective evolution of cooperation factors and governance regime.

Finally, we demonstrate that climatic and hydrological chocks, international aid, socio-economical stability and the relative homogeneity between member states of both organisations account among main success factors.

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