VSIP project

Volta Basin

The ninth largest river in Africa, the Volta River which flows for a total distance of 1,850 km is shared by six West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana , Mali and Togo. Its main tributaries, which are the Black Volta (Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakanbé), the Oti River (Pendjari) and most of the rivers of the lower Volta flow into Lake Volta. Downstream from the lake, the Volta River flows into the Atlantic Ocean in Ghana.

The Volta basin covers an estimated area of ​​400,000 km 2 , unevenly distributed among the six countries. The climate is highly variable in time and space. In fact, the annual rainfall varies from around 500 mm in the upper part of the basin in Mali and in northern Burkina Faso to more than 1,100 mm in the lower part of the basin in Ghana. The average temperature also varies between 27 o C in the south and 36 o C in the north during the year.

The Volta Basin is a source of livelihood and a driver of socio-economic development for its 23.9 million inhabitants, the majority of whom live from agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and aquaculture and forestry.

Project for the Implementation of the Strategic Action Program of the Volta Basin

In 2013, a scientific and participatory Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) of the Volta Basin, revealed many environmental problems likely to worsen water shortages, water use conflicts and diseases of origin. water, among others. Of greatest concern are: changes in water quantities and seasonal flows; degradation of ecosystems; and deterioration of water quality. Added to this are cross-cutting issues such as climate change and its corollaries and the lack of coordination in the management of shared water resources.

In response to these problems, a Strategic Action Program (SAP) comprising 33 actions to be implemented between 2015 and 2024 in the basin was formulated. Some of these actions were included in the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan of the Volta Basin Authority (ABV). The ABV was created in 2007 to promote permanent consultation for a rational, sustainable and equitable management of water resources in the Volta basin with a view to reducing poverty and improving sub-regional integration.

The Volta Basin Strategic Action Program Implementation Project (VSIP) is an emanation of the SAP and the VBA 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. It is co-financed by the World Bank through its program for International Water Cooperation in Africa – CIWA (USD 3.5 million), the Global Environment Fund – FEM (USD 7.2 million) and the ‘ABV ($ 0.24 million), for a total cost of $ 10.94 million.


Overall, the VSIP project aims to strengthen the capacities of the VBA for the management of transboundary water resources.

Specifically, the VSIP aims, on the one hand, to contribute to the institutional development of the VBA and, on the other hand, to implement SAP actions.


The VSIP project is structured around four (4) components:

Component 1: Development of the Volta Basin Water Charter

The Volta Basin Water Charter is a conventional instrument that will define and develop the guiding principles for the management of water resources, the roles and responsibilities of riparian countries in the use and protection of water resources. . For this, it will complete the VBA Convention and strengthen the foundations of the basin organization. The development of the Volta Basin Water Charter will be carried out in three (3) phases:

Phase 1  : Technical, legal and institutional diagnostic study;

Phase 2  : Draft Water Charter for the Volta Basin (development, validation, approval and adoption);

Phase 3  : Popularization (advocacy, information), ratification of the Water Charter, and development of draft implementing texts for the Water Charter.

Component 2: Facilitation of dialogue, communication and project monitoring

The implementation of this component will, among other things, promote dialogue between VBA and water stakeholders on water issues, improve the dissemination of information on current projects or planned in Member States and increase the visibility of VBA actions. It will lead to the development of a communication strategy and plan for VBA. Component 2 will also support the implementation of the activities of other components through stakeholder engagement and capacity building.

Component 3: Implementation of SAP actions

60% of the total budget of the VSIP project is dedicated to the implementation of certain actions of the SAP in the six (6) member countries. Component 3 mainly aims to restore and conserve the vital functions of ecosystems in the mountain slopes on the Pendjari-Oti transect and upstream of Lake Volta, to reduce sedimentation upstream of the Mouhoun river and to optimize water use. for small-scale irrigation in the Sourou basin. This component is made up of three (3) sub-components:

Sub-component 3.1  : Reforestation . Reforestation concerns the mountain slopes on the Pendjari-Oti transect in Benin and Togo as well as the banks of rivers and gallery forests upstream of Lake Volta in Ghana and Ivory Coast;

Sub-component 3.2: Protection of river banks. This action concerns the head of the Kou spring, a tributary of the Mouhoun river in Burkina Faso.

Sub-component 3.3: Rehabilitation and construction of small irrigation systems . This action is planned in the Sourou basin in the Mopti area in Mali.

Each sub-project in a country can be considered as a demonstration project capable of being replicated in other areas of the basin.

In addition to the three sub-components mentioned above, capacity building and the promotion of income-generating activities are related and complementary activities to be implemented in each country.

Component 4: Project coordination

A Project Coordination Unit (PCU) within the ABV ensures the operational management of the VSIP project including the coordination of teams and activities at the headquarters of the ABV and at the country level, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building of VBA and project implementation partners and the preparation of technical and financial reports. A Steering Committee composed, among others, of the National Focal Points of the VBA and the National Focal Points of the GEF ensures the strategic direction of the project on the technical and financial levels.

Apart from these four (4) components, an independent evaluation of the VBA commissioned by the World Bank will be carried out.

Approach to Implementation

The National Focal Points (NFPs), the decentralized water and environment services as well as the local populations actively participated in the identification of actions and intervention sites proposed under the VSIP project. This participatory approach will be maintained and reinforced during the implementation of the project. To do this, information, awareness-raising, communication, education and training actions will be carried out in the field to strengthen the support of local actors and the commitment of all stakeholders to the implementation of the scheduled activities. The project will place great emphasis on the participation of women and young people. To this end, memoranda of understanding will be signed between the VBA, the national focal structures and local actors (user groups, existing committees,

Main Expected Results

By December 2019, the following main results are expected:

  • A Communication Strategy and a Communication Plan are developed and implemented;
  • The National Focal Structures of the ABV are set up and functional;
  • A Water Charter for the Volta Basin is drawn up and adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the VBA member countries;
  • The vital functions of ecosystems in the mountain slopes on the Pendjari-Oti transect and upstream of Lake Volta in the selected areas are conserved and restored;
  • Sedimentation at the Mouhoun spring head is reduced;
  • Small-scale irrigation infrastructure in the Sourou basin in Mali is being developed;
  • The livelihoods of local populations in the targeted areas are improved;
  • The capacities of the ABV for the management of transboundary waters are strengthened.


The following categories of actors will directly benefit from the results of the VSIP project:

  • Farmers including pastoralists and fishermen (men and women) in targeted areas;
  • The National Focal Points of the VBA and their Assistants / National Focal Structures;
  • ABV.

Technical and Financial Partners: World Bank, FEM, CIWA. 


For any further information, please contact:

Dr. Jacob Tumbulto, Director of the Volta Basin Observatory / VSIP Project Coordinator

10 BP 13621 Ouagadougou 10
Tel: 00226 25 37 60 67
Cell: 00226 70 70 06 65
E-mail: jwtumbulto@gmail.com