The Scramble for the River Nile

Posted on May 20, 2010


Inside Story – Sharing the Nile [Al Jazeera Africa]

Kenya Signs the “New Treaty”

Egypt and Sudan oppose Nile deal

Egypt insisted it can block dams and other projects upstream on the Nile, challenging a new deal among African nations seeking to alter historic water sharing arrangements and secure more water for farms and growth.

Four African countries signed the agreement in Uganda last week in a bid to access a greater share of water from the Nile, despite colonial-era pacts that give Egypt the lion’s share of the water and allow it to veto upstream projects such as dams.

“Any project that takes away from the river’s flow has to be approved by Egypt and Sudan in accordance with international treaties,” Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Nasreddin Allam said.

“Egypt is closely watching energy generation projects in the (Nile) basin,” he said.

Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed the deal on May 14, creating a permanent commission to manage the Nile’s waters that did not include Egypt or Sudan. Kenya, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to sign within a year.

The new commission would ostensibly have the power to veto energy and irrigation projects in signatory states.

Egypt, almost totally dependent on the Nile and already threatened by climate change, is closely watching hydro-electric dams in East Africa it fears may restrict the river’s flow.

Egypt has already warned that the new agreement lacked legitimacy and plans to press donors for support.

Yet upstream countries say they need more water too. Power shortages have hindered investment in Africa even though alternative sources to hydroelectric power exist. (Reuters)

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 the new deal on the Nile.

Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania signed the new framework on Friday while Kenya issued a support statement.

Ten nations share the resources of the river.

Colonial-era agreements gave the biggest share of water to the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

But as Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall explains, upstream nations are now pushing for a greater share.

Al Jazeera English – Africa – Ethiopia rejects Egypt Nile claims

Al Jazeera English – Africa – Ethiopia rejects Egypt Nile claims.