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Avoiding a Water War in the Nile Basin




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Dar says ‘No’ as row over Nile heats up

May 17th, 2010

Tanzania yesterday rejected insistence by Egypt and Sudan that the new agreement on the Nile River Basin Co-operative Framework should recognise the two countries’ current Nile water uses and rights.

With the Nile’s total flow of 84 cubic metres, Egypt gets 55.5 billion cubic metres of the water annually and Sudan gets 18.5 billion cubic metres under uses and rights based on old colonial agreements which have long been rejected by seven Nile Basin member states as invalid.

The seven members are Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new agreement, which was signed on May 14 by four countries, including Tanzania, out of the 10 Nile Basin states, establishes principles governing the use, management, development and conservation of the Nile water resources and details the rights and obligations of Basin states.

The Minister for Water and Irrigation, Prof Mark Mwandosya, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that Tanzania recognised the sensitivity of water security to Egypt and Sudan, but access to the waters of the Nile River was a key requirement for the existence of all Basin Nile States.

He said the bone of contention was Article 14 (b) of the agreement which states: “…not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin state”, adding that all countries agreed to this proposal except Egypt and Sudan.

The minister said Egypt proposed that the article should have been replaced by the wording… “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin state.”

“This is not acceptable,” said Prof Mwandosya, adding that Tanzania and the other six Nile Basin countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and DRC had tried for over 10 years to negotiate for an agreement that was acceptable to all member countries.

Asked whether the position shown by Egypt and Sudan pointed to water wars among Nile Basin states, Prof Mwandosya said: “I don’t think that the situation we’re facing could cause water wars. But I think water will make us to be more united. And we’re on the right course.”

He said Tanzania would use its international stature to continue dialoguing with Egypt and Sudan so as to uphold the One Nile philosophy that has been cultivated over the years.

He said Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed the Nile River Basin Co-operation Framework agreement in Entebbe, Uganda on May 14, adding that Kenya promised to sign the deal soon while Burundi and the DRC expected to follow suit.

Prof Mwandosya said the agreement would remain open for one year until May 13, 2011 during which countries may initiate ratification process respective to each country’s Constitution and procedures.

The Nile River Basin is shared by 10 countries of Tanzania, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. Its waters have been used for millennia.

Stretching more than 6,600 kilometres from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean, the Nile is a vital water and energy source for the countries through which it flows

Uganda to continue Rive Nile talks

New Vision – Gerald Tenywa – ‎18 hours ago‎
UGANDA will continue negotiating with Egypt and Sudan, which are still opposed to signing the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement, 


Egypt insists new Nile treaty is non-binding

Daily Monitor – ‎18 hours ago‎
By Evelyn Lirri (email the author) Egypt has described as non-binding a new agreement signed by four African countries on how to equitably manage resources 

Taipei Times – ‎May 15, 2010‎

Four east African countries sign 

new deal creating a permanent commission to manage the River Nile’s w
aters on Friday, putting them on a collision 
Financial Times – William WallisHeba Saleh – ‎May 14, 2010‎

Upriver Nile countries sign compact for water use

The Associated Press – Godfrey Olukya – ‎May 14, 2010‎
Four East African states have signed an agreement to seek more water from the River Nile – a move strongly opposed by Egypt and Sudan. BBC News – ‎May 14, 2010‎
Al Jazeera – ‎May 14, 2010‎
A controversial deal has been signed to share the waters of the world’s longest river. But Egypt and Sudan are not happy at four African countries signing a 

Current Font Size:

Times LIVE (blog) – ‎May 14, 2010‎
The river Nile cuts through many African countries, but they cannot enjoy the waters because of some stupid 1929 colonial-era treaty singed by Britain 

Four African countries sign new Nile treaty

AFP – ‎May 14, 2010‎
ENTEBBE, Uganda — Four African countries on Friday signed a new treaty on the equitable sharing of the Nile waters despite strong opposition from Egypt and 

Nile agreement to be signed today

New Vision – ‎May 14, 2010‎
Delegations from seven of the nine Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) member countries intend to disregard an Egypt-Sudan boycott and move forward with the signing 
Daily Nation – Walter Menya – ‎May 13, 2010‎

Water ministers of five countries meet in Entebbe on Friday with the signing of the Nile treaty on the utilisation of the world’s longest

CAIRO — A senior EU envoy urged seven east African countries on Thursday to settle differences with Egypt and Sudan over sharing the waters of the Nile 
New Vision – ‎May 13, 2010‎
African countries on the upper reaches of the River Nile plan to push their demand for changes in the allocation of its waters, saying Egypt gets too great

Global Insider: The Nile River Basin

WPR: What is the current status quo of water use in the Nile River basin? Wolf: The last actual treaty signed on the basin is one between Egypt and Sudan 

New Nile pact, but old problems remain – Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter Four of the upper Nile Basin riparian countries signed a new Nile water sharing treaty on Friday May 14, 2010 that could reverse the May 

From Unknown to Uncertain: Nile Water Negotiations

A major factor in the absence of a workable peace and security order in Northeast Africa is the unresolved issue of the Nile Waters and regional power order 

Monday’s papers: Nile basin tension, Shura coverage

Al-Masry Al-Youm – Hazem Zohny – ‎

State-run papers lead with reports of yesterday’s meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh between President Hosni Mubarak and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabar ..

Egyptians discuss response to Ethiopian dam

Al-Masry Al-Youm – Metwali Salem – ‎

Ethiopia’s announcement on Friday of the inauguration of its new Tana Beles dam aimed to provoke Egypt’s anger and lead it to taking swift diplomatic 

The Nile: More discord in prospect

Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania agreed on the sharing of the Nile waters, in spite of the boycott of Egypt and Sudan, and signed an agreement – in 

Egypt and Sudan Say No to Nile Basin Agreement

WATER SUPPLY: Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment Maria Mutagamba (L) and Uganda’s Deputy Foreign Minister Isaac Musumba, 

Egypt eyes diplomatic action to resolve Nile Basin dispute

A senior Egyptian official said Sunday the coming weeks are to see intensive diplomatic actions by Cairo to resolve a water dispute which has for long 

The Spokesman: Egypt will not join or sign any agreement that violates its

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry stated that the signing of a water cooperation agreement among some countries at the source of the Nile Basin does not 

Egyptian economists reject Eritrea’s supports Egypt over Ethiopia on Nile 

Sunday’s papers: Nile Basin media frenzy

All the newspapers lead today with coverage of the what is being called the “Nile river crisis.” The media frenzy comes in response to a water-sharing 

Egypt objects to new Nile basin agreement signed in Uganda

Egypt Sunday objected to a new agreement signed by four Nile Basin countries in Uganda for changing the way the river waters are shared, even as the deal 

Sudan Rejects Establishment of Commission

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Engineer Kamal Ali Mohamed has reiterated Sudan’s rejection to establishment of a commission that does not 

Nile Waters: Only A Partial Agreement

Only four countries – Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania – have signed, in Entebbe, Uganda, an agreement to share the management of the waters of the 

Upriver Nile Countries Sign New Nile Treaty Without Down-river Countries

4 Nile Basin countries sign water agreement

EGYPT: Cairo scoffs at new Nile water agreement

Los Angeles Times (blog) – ‎May 15, 2010‎

Egypt, the largest user of Nile River water, has played down the importance of a new Nile Basin Cooperative Framework agreement that could limit how much 


Egypt, the largest user of Nile River water, has played down the importance of a new Nile Basin Cooperative Framework agreement that could limit how much water flows into the country.

The treaty, signed Friday by Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania in the Ugandan city of Entebbe, will replace a 1959 agreement that secured Egypt its historic rights of Nile waters (55.5 billion cubic meters of water each year). Egypt and Sudan boycotted the meeting and have filed objections to the agreement.

The new treaty comes after the collapse of negotiations between the river’s source countries, including Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda, and the downstream nations, Egypt and Sudan, during a convention in Sharm el Sheik last month. Egypt, however, is unfazed by the new accord.

“Egypt and Sudan will not be legally committed to any agreements signed in their absence. The new treaty doesn’t mean anything to both countries,” Moufid Shehab, Egyptian Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was quoted as saying by MENA news agency.

“We don’t want to view it [the treaty] as a destructive act, but we never hoped this would happen because it completely goes beyond the frame of cooperation,” he added.

Nile upstream countries, which also include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Kenya, have long demanded a new pact to regulate an equitable sharing of Nile waters. They also oppose Egypt’s veto power on new irrigation projects in their nations, a right granted to Egypt by a colonial agreement signed with Great Britain in 1929. Such changes could reduce how much water flows into Egypt before the 4,163-mile river reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

While the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi were not represented during Friday’s accord, Kenya issued a statement of support and announced its willingness to sign the treaty as soon as possible. Egyptian experts have previously warned that jeopardizing the country’s shares of Nile water could expose Egypt to a serious water crisis within the next few years.

By Prof. Muse Tegegne

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change & Liberation in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Americas. He has obtained Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva. A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies. He wrote on the problematic of the Horn of Africa extensively. And Lecture at Mobile University..

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