This paper examines the reform of water and irrigation management in Africa and compares it with similar reforms in Asia. Several things are evident from the review. First, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is at an earlier stage of irrigation development and reform than Asia. Second, the articulated need for reform is much stronger in Asia than it is in SSA. Third, the productivity of small-scale irrigated farms is significantly lower in SSA compared to Asia. Thus any irrigation investment strategy in SSA should be different from Asia and focus on increasing small-farm productivity as well as small-scale irrigation projects. Finally, all direct government irrigation investments should be done jointly with decisions regarding the type of project management.