First EPIC Transition Space Meetings held in Nairobi and Accra

In early 2024, EPIC Africa launched its inaugural Transition Space meetings, taking place in Kenya’s Tana River Basin and Ghana’s Volta River Basin. These groundbreaking gatherings are key components of EPIC Africa’s innovative co-creation modelling process, aimed at tackling the complex interdependencies of water, energy, and food (WEF) systems in these regions. The meetings united a dynamic mix of visionaries from civil society, the private sector, government, and academia, fostering a collaborative environment. These Transition Spaces mark the beginning of a journey toward sustainable development in the basins, driven by joint efforts and model-based planning.

What are Transition Spaces?

Transition Spaces, rooted in the Transition Management Framework, act as participatory platforms where a diverse range of visionaries can come together to tackle complex challenges. In the context of the Water-Energy-Food nexus, these spaces serve as incubators for developing and implementing groundbreaking long-term shared solutions for systemic change. These platforms are not just another academic exercise; they are a call to action. 

Highlights from Tana River Basin’s Meeting

The Tana River Basin meeting, held in Nairobi on 7th and 8th February 2024, focused on envisioning a sustainable WEF system by 2063. Activities included presentations on transition theory, followed by collaborative sessions to establish guiding principles and develop innovative WEF solutions. An exercise contrasted the current state of WEF management with future trends, highlighting challenges such as increased competition for water and declining groundwater availability. An envision exercise for each of the three sectors and their interlinkages was performed as seen by the graph below. Discussions also covered four disruptive WEF cases, namely the “WE-Factory in every town”, “WEF energy farmers”, “WEF-competition solving space”, and “WEF activist movement”. 

Insights from Volta River Basin’s Meeting

The Volta River Basin meeting, held in Accra one month later, on 12th and 13th March 2024, followed a similar structure. Transition Space participants, who were eventually joined by local high school students from Achimota High School, engaged in envisioning exercises to create a sustainable WEF system for 2063. Five groups were created to create “The farm of the future”, “Ghana in 2063”, “Community life in 2063”, “A sustainable metropolis”, and “A sustainable Volta River basin”. For example, “A farm of the future” was imagined with advanced refrigeration, robotic harvesting, and biogas production from agricultural waste. The second day went deeper into discussing the values for a sustainable WEF nexus management system, and the creation of three disruptive WEF cases, namely “Water Families”, “First transboundary WEF project”, and “Water farm”.

Moving Forward

The outcomes of these meetings will guide EPIC Africa’s future work, shaping the design of the Tana and Volta River basin models and the scenarios explored using the open-source OSeMOSYS CLEWS model. The identified values and principles will inform the transition objectives and indicators, driving sustainable development in the region.

By fostering collaboration and envisioning sustainable futures, these first Transition Space meetings have laid the groundwork for innovative and inclusive WEF management, setting a course for a resilient future in the two African basins.

The minutes for each of the first Transition Space meetings can be accessed clicking the following links [Kenya TS , Ghana TS]