The co-constitution of regional politics and massive infrastructures in the Transaqua water project
Large-scale water infrastructure projects have seen a sudden surge to the top of the political agenda in many countries as a means of addressing developmental goals at both national and regional levels, despite a decline in funding for these projects in the 1990s and 2000s. The Transaqua inter-basin water transfer (IBWT) project, a 2400 km-long canal aiming to connect the Lake Chad and Congo River basins, has been recently hailed by the Lake Chad basin countries, international and regional organizations, and the private sector as the most feasible solution to revitalize Lake Chad’s declining water levels. It has also started to reconfigure the regional politics of two of Africa’s largest basins. This article focuses on this case study and analyses how regional features shape Transaqua and how it simultaneously reconfigures regional politics. Based on concepts such as ‘region’, ‘regionalism’ and ‘regionalisation’ within the international relations discipline and applying mixed methods of discourse, document and media analysis, we show how the project is influencing regional dynamics, alliances and power relations in the Lake Chad and Congo River basins, and how the Transaqua discourse evolves along with regional features such as droughts, water abundance and regional insecurities, despite being in the planning stage.