Afri-Alliance to host first innovation bridge event in Botswana

By Wallace Mawire

afrialliance-cover4  Afri-Alliance is organizing its first out of five Innovation Bridge

Events (IBE) on 26 to 27 October 2016 in Botswana, in collaboration

with the 17th WaterNet Symposium, according to the AfriAlliance team.

The team says that the IBE aims to match universities, research

organisations, science councils and industrial companies showcasing

innovations in water  and   climate change with potential

collaborators, funders and investors to facilitate commercialisation

of the  innovations.

AfriAlliance partner WaterNet is the lead organizer, working closely

with the University of  Botswana – Okavango Research Institute.

The first IBE will be  composed of two elements, water and climate

change innovation exhibition on 26 October under the theme, “Building

Climate-Resilience in Agriculture and Water Sector”.

The focus of the exhibition will be on both soft and hard

technologies, technologies for farmers to cope better with drought for

example  new drought resistant crop varieties, making better use of

scarce water, as with systems of drip irrigation, water retention and

rainfall harvesting techniques.

A plenary session will be organized on 27 October under the theme,

“Bridging the gap between innovators, industry, funding partners &

policy makers”.

The event will include policy dialogues,  and plenary discussions.

The discussions will focus on Innovations & Technology in water and

climate change, the challenges faced by innovators, industry, funding

partners & policy makers, and possible solutions to these problems.

There will also be an opportunity for one-on-one meetings. Finally, a

combined focus group discussion to map the way forward will be


AfriAlliance will organize a total of five Innovation Bridge Events

during the course of the 5 year project, in different regions.

The International Network of Basin Organisations (ANBO) recently issued a

call for proposals for the creation of an AfriAlliance Action Group

also commonly referred to as a working group or community of practice

that will provide seed money to bring together relevant stakeholders,

both African and European, experts and decision makers to jointly

demonstrate innovative ideas, engage in pilot activities and share

knowledge on specific issues on Africa’s development.


According to a statement sent to partners by the Global Water

Partnership-Southern Africa (GWP-SA), some of the themes to be

addressed by the proposed alliance will include integrated water

resource management, food security and agriculture, human capacity

development, climate change adaptation and mitigation including water

and climate data monitoring collection, forecasting and analysis.


It is reported that Africa is going to be one of the regions most in

need of innovative solutions for tackling water and climate change

related challenges.It is further added that the successful interaction

among relevant stakeholders from both Africa and Europe, in water

management is of principal importance when trying to generate,

increase and exchange knowledge and innovations that  address the

demands for solutions that have noticeable and high impact.


It is added that the lack of appropriate water related skills and

capacity in some parts of Africa and the widespread institutional

fragmentation within Africa as well as between Africa and Europe is a

major obstacle to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and

addressing water crises, many with severe climate change implications.


The lack of effective interactions between policy, research and

entrepreneurs in Africa means that current mechanisms to successfully

transfer relevant EU knowledge and technologies to African economies

or vice versa are not enough to accomplish market uptake and provide

solutions for pressing local water problems in Africa.


The main objective of the Afri-Alliance project, funded by the

European Commissions Horizon 2020 programme is for African and

European stakeholders to work together in the areas of water

innovation, research, policy and capacity development to prepare

Africa for future climate change challenges.


The Afri-Alliance project will reinforce water and climate change

research and social innovation and cooperation between Africa and

Europe through a mix of forward looking and bottom up innovation and

road mapping techniques.


Some of the areas the initiative will focus on will include integrated

water resource management, food security and agriculture and  human

capacity development, just to mention a few.


It is reported that for the first call for action groups, the total

funding available is Euro 77 500 for five action groups each expected

to receive seed funding of Euro 15 500s.


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