The water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus scenario in Africa: Perspective and policy implementations

Oliver O. Apeh, Nnamdi I. Nwulu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In Africa, coping with the growing pressure of resource demand due to the fast population growth and socio-economic development remains one of the major challenges of the 21st century. By 2050, energy and water demand are projected to rise by 80% and 55%, respectively, while to meet food demand, agricultural production needs to rise by approximately 50% more than in 2017. As the population in the continent continues to skyrocket, these shifts threaten water-energy-food-ecosystem (WEFE) security, dangering their access and availability. The region exhibits minimal performance in the WEFE, mainly because of the expertise and insecurity in the resource sectors. However, WEFE nexus has emerged as a new technique to address these challenging situations in Africa. This research has become necessary to effectively address security and impartiality in resource management. Therefore, applying a WEFE nexus strategy, prioritizing the coexisting security of water, energy, food resources, embraces the possibility of enhancing the entire WEFE nexus scenery in Africa. This paper examines the current scenario through multidisciplinary viewpoints, identifying the main issues and potential solutions. The findings from this study show that virtually half of the people in the region are starving, about 20% are malnourished, 47% lack access to electricity, and 36% cannot provide basic amenities. Hence, the paper provides valuable insights for researchers, policymakers, and experts working towards sustainable development in Africa. Achieving WEFE nexus security involves combined arrangements to exploit synergies and alleviate trade-offs. It stresses the need for joint methods that consider the synergies and trade-offs among water, energy, food and ecosystem to ensure resilience and unbiased access in the face of growing socio-economic and environmental challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5947-5962
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy Reports
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • energy policy
  • integration
  • resource management
  • sustainability
  • water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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