English (UK)

After his appointment to the helm of the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat in August 2021, a two-year rotational position among NBI Member States, Eng. Sylvester Matemu was elected President of the African Network of Basin Organisations (ANBO) by the General Assembly at the margins of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal.


Information from the organisation’s Strategic Action Plan 2020-2024 states that the African Network of Basin Organisations (ANBO), was established on the occasion of its inaugural General Assembly held in Dakar on July 10-11, 2002, as an International Non-Profit Organisation for an unlimited period of time. At its inception, ANBO was conceived as a voluntary network of river basin, lake and aquifer organisations set up with the assistance of the International Network of Basin Organisations (INBO). ANBO was established to answer the need for coordination and strengthening of cooperation among African Basin Organisations. ANBO, therefore, represents these entities as a single umbrella organisation under the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), which coordinates water policy within the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) of the African Union.

ANBO president
Much like the Nile Basin Initiative, which provides a platform for Nile Basin Member States to discuss how to effectively and efficiently manage and develop the Nile River water resources, ANBO’s mission is to support the African river/lake Basin Organisations in developing their capacity to play a leading role in sustainable regional economic development through promoting cooperative water investment and management and enhancing cooperation and exchange of experiences among its members.


In his role as president, Eng. Matemu will ensure that ANBO implements its Strategic Action Plan for 2020-2024, which includes a project to strengthen institutions for transboundary water resources management in Africa (SITWA), one of whose objectives is to provide technical assistance to the Basin Organisations (through the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and their respective member states) to develop Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Strategies and Plans (including addressing vulnerability to floods and droughts, priority issues for short and long term development, water quantity analyses and water quality objectives, etc.) in the river/lake basins where they are not yet developed, and to implement plans where they exist.

“I will also mobilise resources to run ANBO,” explains Eng. Matemu, adding, “This is a good opportunity for the Nile Basin Initiative because it means more visibility for NBI at regional, continental and global levels. Now NBI can sit through different foras on the continent.”

Eng. Matemu further explains that ANBO provides guidance to the River/lake Basin Organisations on how to run their affairs while presenting a case for cooperation.

“Water frameworks are connected in Africa and ANBO creates a forum for regular engagement and sharing of water resources experiences, which are well coordinated,” he says.

“If we work in silos, it doesn’t work well but by working together, we can borrow a leaf from each other and promote sustainable transboundary water cooperation in the continent.”
In essence, ANBO, AMCOW and the African Union are connected, hence the realisation of synergy. Under their guidance, they strengthen African River/lake Basin Organisations so that linkages become clear.