Hydro Political Dynamics in the Nile Basin in the Context of Nile Basin Initiative

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Addis Ababa University


The Nile River basin covers over 3 million km2 and encompasses 11 countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. As the populations and economies of these countries are projected to grow, pressures on water resources are likely to increase. In recent years, there has been a promising move towards basin wide cooperation, particularly with the launch of the Nile Basin Initiative in February 1999. It was only intended to be a transitional mechanism pending establishment of a Nile Basin Commission. In 2010, the Cooperative Framework Agreement was signed by six upper riparian states and it is expected that DRC will soon join, Egypt and Sudan rejecting the agreement. All basin states participating in the CFA negotiation process have unanimously agreed on every aspect of the agreement except Egypt and Sudan disagreeing on the water security clause. Their disagreement concerns whether the new treaty would nullify the existing Nile agreements that had allocated the Nile waters only for Egypt and Sudan. The present study, among other things, looks in to why Egypt and Sudan refrained from signing CFA and how the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of shared Nile waters would promote cooperative mechanism in all riparian states. The study is mainly based on qualitative research and has consulted both published literature and unpublished documents. The main findings include that since the establishment of NBI the hydro political interaction has become active and changing. Key words: Nile Basin Initiative, Cooperative Framework Agreement, Water cooperation, Nile waters agreements, equitable and reasonable utilization



Nile Basin Initiative, Cooperative Framework Agreement, Water Cooperation, Nile Waters Agreements, Equitable and Reasonable Utilization