Irrigation management transfer in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of policy implementation across scales

Cesario Cambaza, Jaime Hoogesteger*, Gert Jan Veldwisch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article explores how irrigation management transfer policies were implemented in Mali, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. In Mali and Mozambique, where the irrigation bureaucracy controlled one large irrigation system, state agencies retained control over irrigation management despite reduced state funding. In Malawi and Zimbabwe, where the state irrigation systems and the irrigation bureaucracy were smaller, users have taken over irrigation management, but are having trouble sustaining irrigated agriculture. We show how irrigation management transfer policies were shaped by the interplay between international donors, macro-economic dynamics, national politics and the interactions with (and the nature of) irrigation infrastructure, bureaucracies and organized users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
JournalWater International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020



  • irrigation management transfer
  • policy implementation
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • Water policy
  • water politics

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