Predicting floods and drought in the Niger river basin

The Niger Basin Authority (NBA) is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes cooperation between member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad) and contributes to the improvement of living conditions in the basin through the sustainable management of water resources and associated ecosystems. Together with partners, Akvo is looking into how the NBA's donor-funded projects can become sustainable business models and continue providing essential services to citizens. 

Above: The Niger river basin, photo by USGS on Unsplash.


The Niger river basin



The challenge

The NBA has developed models based on hydro-climatic data to predict floods and drought in the Niger river basin. One of its projects, the donor-funded satellite-based water monitoring and flow forecasting (SATH) project, is at risk of been terminated. As a consequence, the valuable information and predictive algorithms could be lost. This would mean that successful early warning signs, such as for the flood in Niamey in 2020, will not be triggered to protect citizens, livelihoods, and infrastructure. 

The solution

RVO, NSO and Invest International, together with the Dutch embassy in Niger and the NBA, have asked Akvo to conduct a study exploring the commercialisation of the SATH project in order to ensure its sustainability. 

Akvo is currently looking into various commercialisation strategies and business models, such as offering a subscription-based access to the database in which larger corporations pay a higher fee and start-ups gain free access. A thorough analysis of the adverse consequences of making data commercially available or open source is also being conducted.

In addition, Akvo is actively looking into whether (youth) employment can be fostered through geo-data in general and hydro-climatic data in particular. Through this study, we aim to identify suggestions and recommendations regarding youth employment in the region.

The impact

Based on the conclusions and recommendations from Akvo’s study, NBA will have more opportunities to sustain the SATH database and therefore continue to inform its partners and citizens of impending floods or droughts. 

By exploring commercialising opportunities, the SATH project can also be maintained and improved in a more sustainable manner than through donor-funding alone. Besides the continuation of the flood and drought prediction service, this study will identify opportunities to boost youth employment in the region.