Water and Energy for Food (WE4F)

Project description

Title: Water and Energy for Food (WE4F)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2020 to 2024


At present, food production accounts for around 30 per cent of global energy consumption, 28 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, and approx. 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater consumption. The increasing population also means that needs for foodstuffs are rising all the time – estimates suggest that demand for food will rise by 60 per cent by 2050. This will also bring major increases in the use of energy and water.

The growing demand for food exacerbates the pressure on natural raw materials due to consumption and pollution. There are far-reaching consequences for the environment, ecosystems, soils and biodiversity, with direct impacts on people’s living conditions. In addition, the influence of climate change is reinforcing these negative effects and insecurities. 


The dissemination of climate-friendly, energy-efficient and water-efficient innovations has been stepped up for more productive and environmentally sustainable food production.

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The project will deliver the German contribution to the international initiative Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Grand Challenge. WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union (EU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). 

The initiative promotes the development and dissemination of innovative and economic approaches for using climate-friendly, energy-efficient and water-efficient technologies and innovations. These innovations will be applied increasingly in the agricultural and food sector in developing countries and emerging economies. 

The initiative is being implemented through several Regional Innovation Hubs. The decentralised approach will allow the hubs to become firmly established in their own areas, facilitate regional exchange and encourage local activities. Regional competitions will be used to select firms as innovators to receive financial and technical assistance. 

The project will concentrate on five fields of action: strengthening the skills of the selected innovators, skills development for end users and multipliers, improving access to suitable financing, improving political and sectoral framework conditions, and strengthening exchange among specialists at the regional and global levels. 

The German contribution will be coordinated by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Bonn. The project will be implemented via two regional hubs in East and West Africa. The partners of the international initiative will establish additional regional hubs in South-East Asia, the Middle East and Southern and Central Africa.

Additional information