The Growth Engine for Africa— From a Water Perspective


10:45 am January 2018


2:15 pm January 2018

Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Boston

As we peer into the future, there are a number of development challenges that require an exploration of the interconnections among water, energy, and food.  Countries still struggling with provision of basic services and that have not yet adapted well to historical climate variability face the additional challenges of growing needs and climate change.  Several regions in the world are facing unprecedented challenges in frequent and severe drought, water security, high energy production costs, food security and evolving climate conditions to countries of high and low GDP alike.  These changes are not merely limited to the biophysical ecosystems, but also socio-economic systems in complex ways.  This has real impact on local and regional economic value added and at a larger scale on the country’s GDP.  These different aspects are converging within the Nexus of Water-Energy-Food. The application of these approaches to address the Nexus manifest itself through three sectoral approaches: water resources, energy production and agriculture development.

However, there are many evolving opportunities to address these challenges from global to local levels – ranging from new approaches relating to open data and integrated systems analysis to new technologies and investment paradigms that recognize this nexus. 

The objective of this round table is to present the varied multi-sectoral perspectives required to address the challenges of this nexus – with practical case studies related to water resources optimisation, energy efficiency, and analyzing the Water-Energy-Food nexus.  The case studies will illustrate the interaction among the different components of the Nexus and how they are intertwined in different contexts.

An improved understanding of this Nexus can be used at different decision making levels, impacting household consumption, agriculture development and industrial processes.  Such analyses would help decision makers to better shape policies and develop sustainable plans for water allocation and energy production.  A shared understanding of these multi-sectoral inter-linkages is critical to crafting sustainable socio-economic development solutions. Moving forward, the WEF nexus provides an effective approach for government, industry, academia, and civil society to enhance and sustain natural resource and agricultural productivity and resilience.

The round table starts with a keynote opening by Prof. Peter Rogers on understanding the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.  Then, the program features experts and policymakers in the field of water, energy and agriculture, sharing practical cases, including: the application of modern data and analytical approaches to integrated watershed management, Harvard Pilot Project on water conservation, desalinization for resource optimisation, and WEF application through the OCP process.  Finally, the discussion session and conclusions will pave the way to new projects and to outline the main aspects of a water-energy initiative between Harvard, the OCP Policy Center, and the University Mohamed VI Polytechnique.





10:45 –11:00

Arrival of Roundtable participants to the Middle East Department at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government


11:00 -11:05


Presentation of the Round Table

Dr. Hynd Bouhia, Global Nexus  


Presentation of the Kennedy School of Government Middle East Department

Mrs. Hilary Rantisi, Director of the Middle East Initiative, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

11:10 -11:20


Key Note Opening

Understanding the concept of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Prof. Peter Rogers, Harvard University – Welcoming Remarks



11:20 -12:45





Case study of Dessalination, and how it links to the WEF Nexus

Dr. Martha Crawford, Harvard Business School


Applied Modeling to watershed’s management

Dr. Harshadeep Rao Nagaraja, Lead specialist, World Bank


Harvard Pilot Project of water conservation in Marrakech

M. Monty Simus, Harvard Leadership Program

M. Yasser Biaz, Global Nexus


Modelisation approach of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Dr. Amjad Assi, Texas A&M University, OCP Policy Center


Integrating Renewable Energy

Dr. Scott Kennedy, MIT & Masdar Institute Cooperative Program


12 :45 -1:15

Moderator : Dr. Hynd Bouhia, Global Nexus



1:45 -2:15



Conclusions about how to develop a water-Energy-Food initiative

Prof. Michael McElroy, Harvard Global Center


Scott Kennedy
Executive Director of Energy Action Partners
Scott is the Executive Director of Energy Action Partners, an international social enterprise implementing development projects and educational programs that promote inclusive economic development through access to sustainable energy. Current initiatives include skills and workforce development for the renewable energy sector in Somaliland, as well as the development of new planning tools for community-based renewable energy microgrids. Scott also serves as Assistant Director of Educational Initiatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he works on institutional collaborations to establish new research universities in countries with limited research infrastructure. In this capacity, Scott was previously an Associate Professor and Dean of Research at the Masdar ...
Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep
Lead Environmental Specialist in the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice of the World Bank
Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep (Harsh) is a Lead Environmental Specialist in the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice of the World Bank, and is leading efforts to promote sustainable multi-sectoral development approaches in a spatial context. In over 19 years at the Bank, he has led and been part of a range of environmental, water, and other natural resources projects and studies, primarily in Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia. This has included work on integrated watershed and basin approaches, climate resilience, international waters (including work on the Aral Sea, Nile, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other Basins), pollution, water and environment institutions, irrigation systems, biodiversity and environmental assessments. He also leads several activities at ...
Martha Crawford
Martha J. Crawford joined the faculty of Harvard Business School in 2016, after an accomplished career as Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director, managing global R&D operations for multi-nationals in the energy and chemicals sectors. As CTO, Crawford led large, dispersed teams located in R&D centers on several continents, and thus experienced first-hand the complexities of change management and leadership in an international corporate setting. Crawford holds a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering (Harvard SEAS) and an MBA (College des Ingenieurs, Paris). Since 2013, Crawford has served as Independent Director for two French multi-national (mid-cap, Euronext-listed) companies. From 2007 to 2014, Crawford also served on the Boards of subsidiaries of co ...
Hilary Rantisi
Director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government's (HKS)
Hilary Rantisi is the Director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government's (HKS) Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She received her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago. As Director, Hilary has expanded MEI’s program offerings to best serve a variety of constituents, including Harvard students, faculty, staff and alumni, regional partners and peoples in the Middle East and the general public. Hilary has spearheaded MEI’s growth, enhancing critical learning on and about the Middle East at Harvard through multi-disciplinary Executive Education programs, high-level sector specific workshops, faculty research and support, student mentoring and internship funding, professional development semina ...
Prof. Peter Rogers
Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Engineering
Prof Peter Rogers Prof. Rogers is Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Engineering and Professor of City Planning in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Global Water Partnership, recipient of Guggenheim and Twentieth Century Fellowships. His research interests include: the consequences of population on natural resources development ; conflict resolution in international river basins ; improved methods for managing natural resources and the environment, with emphasis on the use of analytic optimizing methods to incorporate both the natural phenomena and the engineering controls ; the impacts of global change on water resources, and the development of indices of environmental quality ...