The Question of the Nile in Ethio Egyptian Relations: Challenges and Opportunites

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Addis Ababa University


The Nile issue has long shaped the relations between Ethiopia and Egypt. With Egypt dominating the hydropolitics of the Nile, Ethiopia has been unable to strike a deal on establishing user right on the river. Egypt has made its preoccupation to obstruct any development efforts on the Nile by Ethiopia. Egypt’s diplomatic and political superiority has also proved effective in blocking any international funding for Ethiopia’s effort in using the resources of the Nile. Egypt has also tried to exploit the instabilities and internal crises in some countries in the basin, particularly Ethiopia, in support of one or the other parties involved in the crisis with the object of diverting development efforts on the Nile. This study emphasizes on the need to change the hitherto uncompromising hydropolitical situation in the basin particularly, the need to forge cooperation on using the resources of the river for the common good of the riparian countries. In this regard the recognition of equitable entitlement of the resources of the river to all the Nail basin countries is viewed as a positive step towards rapprochement in the basin countries in general and between Egypt and Ethiopia in particular. The present cooperative endeavors and recognition of equitable entitlement of the riparians is to my understanding a welcome sign for future cooperation on utilizing the resources of the river. But there also seem to be some problems on the road to cooperation. The stumbling block in this regard appears to be the prevarication displayed by the downstream co-riparian stapes of Egypt, and the Sudan. The study also highlights the need of the Ethiopian side to show commitment and action to implement its development projects even if foreign assistance couldn’t be available. Ethiopia is also expected to display a more proactive diplomatic role in attracting foreign assistance.The study also touches on the lessons that are learned from the various political and diplomatic initiatives on forging agreement on the Nile. It also urges on the need to register progress in the ongoing attempts to come up with legal and institutional framework for establishing rights on the Nile resource. But the study also advises on the benefit of participating on the ongoing Nile Basin Initiative and specifically on the project-by- project based agreement of the ENSAP. It attempts to prove that Ethiopia’s participation in the short-term on such initiatives as ENSAP could not jeopardize her right to equitable share on the Nile. But a stress is made on the need to guard against the prevarication of Egypt and Sudan who seem not to desist from their unilateral and uncompromising stance. In this instance, Ethiopia’s choice is advised to be to mobilize its own human and financial resource and to build the necessary infrastructure on the ground for her ultimate utilization of the Nile



International Relation