Monday, May 30, 2011

Egyptian company discovers gold deposit near Ethiopia Millennium Dam - Bikya Masr

CAIRO: A subsidiary of the Egyptian mining company ASCOM has discovered a consistent gold deposit in Ethiopia. The site is part of the Arab-Nubian Shield, a geological formation renowned for its richness in precious minerals, extending between Africa and the Arab Peninsula. According to unconfirmed sources, ASCOM will soon start the exploration of the area.

Originally established in 1975 as a department of ASEC Cement to offer Geology & Mining services clients, today ASCOM manages operative subsidiaries in United Arab of Emirates, Syria and Ethiopia.

ASCOM is also undertaking research for gold deposits along the Blue Nile of Sudan and in Algeria.

This timely announcement comes only few days after Egypt re-opened gold trade after a 6-week suspension due to popular unrest and to prevent illegal smuggling.

Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Samir el-Sayyed lifted the ban on Monday after assuring that increasing stability in the stock market and in the economic and political conditions would allow gold trade to resume as normal.

But the site of ASCOM’s recent finding falls under the administration of the Benishangul State, the same region hosting the construction of the much discussed Ethiopian Millennium Dam on the river Nile.

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt heated up in the last few weeks, as Egypt refused to undersign the Entebbe Agreement on the re-shuffling of Nile water shares, and strongly opposed the construction of the Millennium Dam.

Plans for the construction of the $5 billion Dam were inaugurated in late March. The Dam will be the world’s 10th in size, and is part of the country’s effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Egyptian authority recently instructed the military to prepare for any eventuality regarding water disputes with Ethiopia following the construction of the dam.

Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs downplayed the announcement.

“It’s a psychological threat persisting from the early time of Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson Dina Mufti told Ethiopian newspaper The Reporter.

Ethiopian authorities and public opinion accuse Egyptian government of hindering upstream countries’ efforts to develop their energetic and economic potential related to the exploitation of water resources.

In the past days, a delegation of oppositional forces led by Egyptian Wafd party member Mostafa al-Gendi visited Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, aiming to illustrate how the Egyptian people envision a fair solution of important water issues after the revolution.

“We asked the Ugandan president to intervene in favor of Egypt regarding Nile water distribution,” said el-Gendi.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nile row easing Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt |

The new atmosphere that has existed in Egypt since the 25 January Revolution has helped ease differences over the fair distribution of Nile water between the upper and lower Nile Basin states, with Egypt working on improving ties with these states in the hope of reaching a compromise.

On a recent visit to Ethiopia, one of the Nile Basin states, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf offered to increase trade ties between Egypt and Ethiopia in order to make full use of the resources of both states and underline the idea that all parties to the negotiations should be winners.

"We were in Uganda yesterday, and today we had discussions in Ethiopia. The atmosphere is completely different from what it was," Sharaf told journalists following talks with members of Ethiopia's business community and a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi that concluded on Saturday.

"When you look at trade between Ethiopia and Egypt, it's still a tiny fraction of total trade. We have to take care of that and to develop means to increase trade between our two countries," Sharaf said.

Ahmed El-Wakil, president of the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, said that every effort was being made to create better relations between Egypt and the Nile Basin states, though the actions that followed these efforts would be just as important.

"Egypt has experience and know-how, and the African states have water, fledgling markets and other resources. Thus, we need to cooperate in a way that will lead to better living standards in these countries," El-Wakil told the Weekly.

Magawri Shehata, president of the Arab Association for Clean Water, agreed on the importance of boosting Egypt's relations with the Nile Basin states. "Egypt should work on boosting cooperation and creating common interests with the Nile Basin states on political, economic, technical and other levels," he said.

However, the most important achievement of Sharaf's visit was the formation of a committee of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian experts to study the effects of the proposed Millennium Dam in Ethiopia on the flow of Nile water to Sudan and Egypt.

Tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia had increased when Ethiopia declared that it was building a multi-billion dollar "Millennium Dam" on its share of the Nile, which provides 85 per cent of the Nile's water.

Officials in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa said the dam was being built to generate electricity and would not affect the flow of water, but Egypt and Sudan have been concerned about the possible effects of the dam on the water levels reaching the two countries.

Sharaf said that Egypt was not against the dam and that Egypt was willing to join a committee of Ethiopian, Egyptian and Sudanese experts to discuss its effects. Zenawi reassured Sharaf of Ethiopia's readiness to work in partnership with Egypt.

Shehata said that the proposed committee would look into the advantages and disadvantages of the dam in order to help the government take an informed decision. "It should be an unbiased committee that considers the negatives and positives of the project, together with the interests of the states involved," he told the Weekly.

Sharaf's visit to Addis Ababa came after Ethiopia agreed to postpone ratification of a treaty on sharing Nile water until a new Egyptian government has taken office and was able to join the negotiations.

The delay eases a long-running dispute between downstream countries, including Egypt and Sudan, which claim historic rights to the Nile water, and various upstream countries.

Shehata described the postponement as an important diplomatic step, since Ethiopia had already started laying the foundations of the dam before the ratification of the agreement and before another African state, Burundi, had signed it.

The postponement was a sign that a new page had been turned in the negotiations following Egypt's 25 January Revolution.

Zenawi's decision was first taken during a visit by a 48-member popular delegation to Ethiopia earlier this month, which received a warm welcome in the Ethiopian capital and succeeded in thawing Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.

The delegation called for the preservation of Egypt's historical water rights and a fresh start to the relationship between the two countries following the 25 January Revolution.

The delegation comprised three Egyptian presidential candidates, representatives from various political parties and movements, independent politicians, previous members of parliament, journalists, public figures and representatives from the youth groups that launched the 25 January Revolution.

Members of the delegation received similar assurances from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during a visit to Uganda last month.

Tensions had erupted between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand and Ethiopia and the other Nile Basin states on the other when they failed to reach an agreement on the fair distribution of Nile waters.

Failure to reach an agreement prompted Ethiopia, along with Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, to sign a pact in the Ugandan capital Entebbe in May last year giving other Nile Basin countries one year to join the pact before putting it into effect.

Sudan and Egypt dismissed the deal, while the Congo and Burundi initially refused to sign, though Burundi later signed. The agreement cannot be put into effect until at least six states sign it.

The pact was supposed to be a substitute for the 1929 and 1959 agreements, which gave Egypt the right to most of the more than 100 billion cubic metres of water that reach downstream countries annually and the right to veto new projects by other Nile states.

Although Egypt and Ethiopia signed an agreement in 1993, relations deteriorated after a failed assassination attempt on former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak during a visit to Addis Ababa in 1995.

In addition to Egypt and Ethiopia, the Nile Basin group of countries includes Burundi, the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with Eritrea having observer status.

Egypt and Ethiopia are among the most influential states, and their improving relations are likely to improve cooperation among all the Nile basin states, which should be an important principle for the future.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Egypt and Sudan refuse to sign River Nile agreement | The London Evening Post AF

Egypt and Sudan have refused to put in place an agreement that would secure the future of the River Nile, which is the backbone of agriculture for nine North African countries, leaving the river’s future in limbo. But there are signs that the new government in Egypt could adopt a more co-operative stance and open the way for countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya to further their economic development using Nile water.

The deadline for the signing of the proposed Nile Basin agreement passed without the signatures of Egypt, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The agreement, more than a decade in making, would secure the waters of the Nile to ensure that dams, hydropower and agriculture can all flourish. Six countries have signed the text: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

One of the main sources of contention is Ethiopia’s proposal to build hydroelectric dams on the river, from which it could export energy to other African nations. Egypt is concerned that the dams would reduce the water flow vital to its agriculture. But the disputes stretch back nearly a century. In 1929, an attempt to secure the Nile for the benefit of Egypt and Britain, as the colonial power, resulted in treaties that still mean surrounding countries effectively have to seek permission from Egypt in order to make use of the Nile’s water. This is now unacceptable to the other countries.

A cruise liner on the River Nile. Although the source of the Nile is in Uganda, colonial masters handed sole power of the river to Egypt where it ends its long journey across several other African countries.

Ana Cascao, project manager at the Stockholm International Water Institute, said: “This would be a historic agreement. Without Egypt and Sudan, we are still in a standby situation. But I am hopeful that the new government later this year will change this.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

YouTube - Geothermal Power Menengai Discovery

YouTube - Geothermal Power Menengai Discovery: ""

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.: ""

Egypt loses monopoly over Nile waters-The East African:  -

Egypt’s control over the Nile waters came to an end last week, paving the way for development projects upstream of the river.

In a ceremony in Kampala last week, six countries ratified the Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA) that repeals the colonial treaty of 1929.

The World Bank Trust, which manages the Nile Basin resources, had been blocking development projects along the river because the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) lacked legal basis, which the CFA now provides.

“As long as we do not have the CFA, Egypt and Sudan will continue to block development, because NBI has no legal recognition in other countries,” said Dr Callist Tindimugaya, Uganda’s Nile Basin Initiative representative and also Commissioner of Water Resources Regulation at the Ministry of Water and Environment.

The colonial treaty barred other countries from using the water for development purposes that could impact on water flowing to Egypt.

In 1959, however, Egypt and Sudan, renegotiated the treaty and came up with the Full Utilisation of Nile Water Agreement, which allowed the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt for mutual benefit of both countries.

“Without consent of Egypt, no irrigation or hydroelectric works can be established on the tributaries of the Nile or their lakes if such works can cause a drop in water levels harmful to Egypt,” reads the section in the 1929 treaty.

The breakaway group of riparian countries — Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania—undertook technical audits that culminated in the CFA last year.

In February this year, Burundi became the sixth nation to sign up to the agreement to alter the historical water-sharing arrangements for the River Nile, thus raising sufficient numbers to move the process towards ratification.

Egypt, Sudan and DRC did not sign, while Eritrea maintains observer status.

The organisation’s name changed from Nile Basin Initiative to Nile Basin Commission with headquarters in Uganda.

The CFA provides for sharing of benefits and costs of maintaining the river.

The Regional Interconnection Project — a $385 million power project expected to be completed in 2014 — is one of the development programmes that are expected to generate cross border electricity for the benefit of all countries.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mass killings imminent in Uganda, Daily Monitor


After turbulent regimes of Idi Amin and Milton Obote II, Uganda has enjoyed relative peace for the last 25 years under President Museveni’s stewardship but the country is now named among those facing threats of mass killings, a new report says.

President Yoweri Museveni 4th Term Swearing In

According to internationally-acclaimed Peoples under Threat Index 2011, the current human rights violations and communal tensions in the country, if not checked, could spark off mass killings in Uganda.

“There has been a national conversation in Uganda about the unpredictable nature of the transition the country is taking,” said Mr Perazzi Marusca, the spokesperson for Minority Rights Group International (MRG), which compiles the annual survey.

‘The situation is exacerbated by the mistrust between central government, political parties, and kingdoms, heightened by the government’s swift passing of the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders’ Bill 2011 and arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders,” adds Mr Marusca .

MRG is a UK-based non-governmental organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide.

Recent events
In the last one month, Uganda has witnessed the worst protests in recent history of people opposing the increasing commodity prices due to rising inflation.

The protests, which have so far claimed at least 10 lives, have met stiff resistance from the State, which accuses the opposition of trying to topple the government through stirring mass uprisings. Several opposition leaders have been arrested and imprisoned for allegedly inciting violence.

According to the survey, Cote d’lvoire, which has just suffered post-election violence that left hundreds of lives lost, is ranked the most significant riser in this year’s survey in Africa, while Afghanistan leads globally.

The report, launched in Nairobi last Thursday, says despite the ouster of Laurent Gbagbo and the installation of President Alessane Ouattara, the risk of further killing remains high in Cote d’lvoire, with over one million internally displaced, and armed militias on both sides threatening revenge attacks.

The index is created from a basket of 10 indicators, all known antecedents to mass violence, including the rule of law, prevailing conflict and previous experience of genocide or political mass killings.
They reflect the fact that communities are more at risk in states with poor governance, prone to conflict and with a record of previous killings.

Worst countries
Over the last five years, Peoples under Threat has pioneered the use of statistical analysis to identify situations around the world where communities are at risk of mass killing.

On many occasions, countries that have risen sharply up the table have later become scene of gross rights violations, among them Sri Lanka, Sudan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen.

Other African countries that have risen significantly in the table this year are Guinea and Libya. Somalia and Sudan, where violence is ongoing, remain at the overall head of the table.

The survey says more than half of the top 10 countries are African states, including DR Congo, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Egypt News - Egypt approves of Ethiopia Renaissance Dam in principle

Egypt News - Egypt approves of Ethiopia Renaissance Dam in principle: "Egypt approves of Ethiopia Renaissance Dam in principle

Written by Egypt News
MONDAY, 16 MAY 2011
An official source said that Egypt has in principle approved the Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia intends to build on its borders with Sudan this year
The source added that Prime Minister Essam Sharf and his Ethiopian counterpart have agreed that an Egyptian technical committee examine the blueprints of the dam, so as to determine whether it would adversely affect Egypt’s Nile water quota, and that Egypt might participate in the construction of the dam, which is expected to cost around US$4.7 billion.

An agreement has also been reached by which Egypt and Sudan will buy electricity from Ethiopia’s power station in Mendaya, which has the capacity to provide 1200 megawatts to Sudan and another 2000 to Egypt. A related agreement allows for Egypt to import a large number of Ethiopian livestock.

“More than 30 Egyptian companies have already asked to import meat from Ethiopia due to its high quality and low price,” said Ayman Eissa, head of the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Council.

He added that Egypt aims to link its economic development to that of Ethiopia, in order to avoid unilateral projects that would harm the interest of either co"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Egyptian PM in Ethiopia for Nile talks | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was in Ethiopia for an official visit Friday, devoted mainly to talks on sharing the waters of the Nile, an issue at the centre of high tensions between the two countries.

Sharaf, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday, had a meeting behind closed doors for several hours with his Ethiopian counterpart, Meles Zenawi, an AFP journalist witnessed.

"Ethiopia has already frozen ratification of a treaty on sharing Nile River water until a new Egyptian government takes office and joins the negotiations," Meles said at the close of talks.

"So we would wait for Egyptians until they elect their new government and the new government takes office to join the negotiations."

Countries that share the Nile River basin have demanded the revision of colonial-era agreements that allot the bulk of the river's water to Egypt and Sudan and allow Cairo to veto upstream projects.

Egypt does not recognise an agreement between other basin countries that revised the treaties, but the government that replaced ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February has shown interest in resolving the dispute.

The revised agreement, signed by Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, seeks to allow irrigation and hydroelectric projects to go ahead without Cairo's consent.

Sharaf heads a large delegation including the foreign and electricity ministers on a visit that started in Uganda and has been billed "historic" by Cairo.

Ethiopia has taken the lead in the campaign against Egypt, for whom the Nile is just about its only source of water.

Zenawi said the delay in the treaty ratification "does not mean that Ethiopia will stop its construction of the (Gibe) dam".

Chile & Ethiopia on Death Dams

"It's the most beautiful place, I believe, on the planet," said Kennedy, who kayaks there every year. "I –don't know any place like Patagonia."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a lawyer for the US-based National Resources Defense Council, appealed to Pinera to call off the project

Chilean environmentalists are fighting to stop the deadly dams to be constructed in the Andean glaciers to the Pacific Ocean through green valleys and fjords, while the Ethiopian dictator is preparing to build a deadly dam that will endanger million of lives of the riparian nations. The Pacified Ethiopian are forced to endorese the Death dam which will be the instrument to sell their fertile lands.


In contrary to Ethiopia  Chile is a nation with its energy-intensive mining industry clamoring for more power and living standards improving, while Ethiopia is damming its rivers for the land Grabbers not even the local energy consumption.  This $7-billion project to dam two of the world's wildest rivers for electricity has won environmental approval Monday from a Chilean government commission despite a groundswell of opposition while the Ethiopian dictatorial regime is not even take any measure to seek any environmental tests.

It was hidden as project X by the Ethiopian Dictator. The Chili and political appointees in the democratically elected  President Sebastian Pinero’s government - concluded a three-year environmental review by approving five dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers in Aysen, a mostly road less region of remote southern Patagonia where rainfall is nearly constant and rivers plunge which will definitively destroy the last remaining wonders of the Earth.
[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A// img= embed=false share=false width=440 height=360 dock=true controlbar=none bandwidth=high autostart=false /]
The Chilean dams all  together could generate 2.75 gig watts, nearly a third of central Chile's current capacity, within 12 years while the megalomaniac Ethiopian  Nile Death dam is suppose to produce Upon completion, will have an electric generation capacity of 6,000MW, three times more than the combined capacity of all Ethiopia’s existing dams.

When we go back to Chile the dams would drown 14,000 acres (5,700 hectares), require carving clear-cuts through forests, and eliminate whitewater rapids and waterfalls that attract ecotourism. Aysen region, while the Ethiopian gigantic dam will cover two time the Lake Tana which is from 3,000 to 3,500 km² according to the rainy seasons.

In Chile the Dam would destroy habitat for the endangered Southern Huemul deer: Fewer than 1,000 of the diminutive animals, while in the Nile Valley of Ethiopia an estimated Number of Flora and Fauna will be lost forever to come. In the contrary to the Chilean the Ethiopian dam will endanger the Lives of the people in Nile basin countries.

The Investors have spent Chile over $220 million on the project so far, but opposition has grown to 61 per cent of Chileans according to the latest Ipsos Public Affairs poll, and the government is concerned about a backlash. The Ethiopians even do not have a true democracy like that of Chile and are forced to accept whatever the Dictator dictates which Chile experienced a despotic regimes of the General in her recent past.

The Ethiopian the dam is contracted by Italian company Salini Costruttori for €3,350bln ($4,916bln). The Dam will be the biggest hydroelectric plants ever built in Africa, producing 5250 MW. Apart from forced contributions by Ethiopian institutions and citizens, there are serious suspicions that the Ethiopian Government will not be able to fund the work.

“The provenience of most funding for this and other Ethiopian Dams is utterly unclear,” declared an ex-officer of the Italian Cooperation in Ethiopia who refused to be credited.

Chile is the world's largest copper producer and e recently approved Latin America's largest coal-fired plant, to power a mine near the northern deserts. Two other coal plants received the okay on Friday.  Thus its power grid has recently been under increased strain compared to the Ethiopian embryonic mining industry, where the dam is destined just for the land grabbers. Again the Chilean government is not selling its fertile land for land Grabbers while Ethiopia has already sold most of its cultivable land to the foreign investors at the same time over 3 million Ethiopian are starving of death.

In contrary to the Ethiopian death Dam which will end killing millions,   the Chilean HidroAysen is suppose to help Chile to receive the cheapest, cleanest electricity possible?  Though Several Chilean energy experts also dismissed solar as uncompetitive and years away from relevancy, a huge US$2.2 billion, 2.6 gigawatt solar project being built in the Mojave desert with private money and US government guarantees The latter will be the best example to the Ethiopians to learn from rather than building a destructive death dam and create undue conflict with the neighboring countries.

Great dam are highly environmental risks and catastrophic with moving tectonic regions and earth quake prone countries like Ethiopia and Chile. Westerners   that  had build greet dams in the past  have proved highly risky to the surrounding population as seen in China and the Us  in recent years with the increasing floods and earth quakes.


Thousands protest Chile mega-dam | Video |

Protest against new hydroelectric dams in Chile


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nile dam project not negotiable, says Ethiopia ahead of Egyptian PM Visit

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
May 10, 2011(ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia will never stop its program to construct the recently launched massive hydro power project in Nile River whether Egyptians welcome it or not, government officials said on Tuesday ahead of the Egyptian prime minister’s visit to Addis Ababa this week.
“There won’t be any reason that would stop or delay the undergoing construction of the Nile Dam. It is not something based on the goodwill of Egyptians” Shimels Kemal, a spokesman for the Communications Ministry of Ethiopia, told Sudan Tribune.
Egypt, which failed to thwart a recent pact on Nile water use signed by six riparian countries, had recently sent a 48-member popular delegation to discuss the issue with Ethiopia despite the latter’s insistence the plan was not intended to harm Egypt.
As goodwill gesture Addis Ababa agreed to postpone ratification of the new treaty.
“Ethiopia only agreed to delay ratifying the new Nile pact until Egypt elects new government, if the upcoming rule in Egypt accepts the project we will push building the dam in joint cooperation” Ethiopian state minister for foreign affairs Birhane Gebrekirstos said.
“However if the new government in Egypt rejects to accept and bends to its old stance the program never stops and we will still carry on the project to end”.
The state Minister said Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, accompanied by senior officials, will arrive in Addis Ababa on Thursday for a two day visit.
According to the official, the Nile will be the main topic of discussion as well as some other bilateral issues.
“The Egyptian delegation will be briefed on the Nile project to illustrate them it doesn’t hurt them and we hope a common understanding will be reached between the two sides”, Gebrekirstos said.
Ethiopia has allowed a team of Sudanese and Egyptian experts along with other Ethiopian and international scientists, to observe the new dam in a bid to convince them the project is not intended to hurt them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AFP: Egypt PM to discuss Nile water in Africa visits

CAIRO — Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf departed on Wednesday for visits to Uganda and Ethiopia that will be dominated by the talks on sharing the Nile River, which has been at the centre of a dispute between Nile Basin countries.

Sharaf will first visit Kampala and then Addis Ababa on Thursday night, the official MENA news agency reported.

He heads a large delegation including the foreign and electricity ministers.

Basin countries have demanded the revision of colonial-era agreements that give Egypt and Sudan most of the river's water and allow Cairo to veto upstream projects on the river.

Egypt does not recognise an agreement between other basin countries that revised the treaties, but the government that replaced ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February has shown interest in resolving the dispute.

Lake Victoria and Nile waters treaties ripe for major review-Business Daily:  -

River Nile passing through the city of Cairo in Egypt. Time is ripe for cross-border projects to improve economic benefits. Photo/FILE

The other day as I flew over Lake Victoria to Kigali, I was prompted to think about the debate on River Nile waters and treaties.

I also reflected on the meandering River Kagera, a river that carries a lot of water from Rwanda and Burundi into Lake Victoria.

This also set me guessing which of the riparian countries puts most water into Lake Victoria/ River Nile water systems


Kagera is probably the largest single river contributing most to the Lake Victoria waters, but Kenya as a country may in total be contributing the most quantity of water into the lake out of its many fairly large rivers, that is Nzoia, Yala, Nyando, Sondu-Miriu, Migori and the Mara river, which enters the lake in Tanzania.

All these Kenyan rivers emanate from the Mau except Nzoia which flows from Cherangany.

Uganda mainly off-takes water from the lake via Victoria Nile, but also puts a lot of water into the Nile system from a network of rivers and lakes.

Tanzania, to my best recollection of geography, has only small streams mostly seasonal going to the lake, if one considers that Mara essentially flows from Kenya.

Before the River Nile finally reaches Egypt, we have huge water inputs from the Southern Sudan equatorial landscape and of course the mighty Blue Nile of Ethiopia.

What strikes many of us as grossly illogical and unfair is the requirement that gives Egypt veto powers when a member of the Nile watershed countries (including Kenya) intends to install a large-scale project that would impact water flows to Egypt.

This is according to an agreement signed in 1929, and which binds Kenya among other riparian countries.

Ongoing regional and basin initiatives among the riparian countries are in the process of negotiating more equitable agreements, though unanimity is far from reached.

Waters of the Victoria/Nile watershed systems have been used differently by various riparian countries.

Whereas there is economic sense in damming rivers for both electricity and irrigation, it is the latter that essentially removes water from the flow.

Uganda has mainly focused on hydropower generation with the Bujagali project expected to yield 250MW while the proposed project at Karuma falls will yield up to 600MW.

Kenya has recently commissioned Sondu Miriu hydro project with a 60MW power output.

Tanzania recently installed a water pipeline from Lake Victoria pumping water to the twin towns of Kahama and Shinyaga mainly for domestic and industrial use for up to half a million people.

Ethiopia is mainly focusing on mega hydro power generation, while Egypt and Sudan have, for many years, engaged in massive irrigation.

Southern Sudan is expected to come up with its own projects on Nile Waters use.


Historically, Kenya has not gone all out to harness the economic potential offered by either the rivers flowing into Lake Victoria or the lake itself.

The Sondu Miriu hydropower project and the recently rehabilitated rice irrigation projects are perhaps the only visible efforts on the Nile Basin water resources, with the fishing sub-sector having declined.

Kenya is putting a lot of resources into environmental rehabilitation of its Mau (and Cherangany) water tower to sustain the flow of the rivers that eventually contribute to the waters of Nile.

Kenya, therefore, has a justifiable right to fetch sufficient economic returns out of the five main rivers from the towers, especially before the water flows into the lake.

There is likely to be less riparian debate if we capture and use the water while it is still flowing within our country than when it is already in the Lake and ready to flow to Egypt.

Kano green fields

It is the irrigated agriculture especially in the low lying lands of Nyanza counties that will make a huge national (and local) economic difference.

It would be fascinating and pleasant to witness in the future most of the Kano Plains covered with large green fields of irrigated rice, cotton, sugar, and horticultural produce.

We would also like to witness aircraft flying from the newly upgraded Kisumu international airport direct to Europe carrying horticultural exports from the irrigated fields.

It would also be quite welcome to witness agricultural surpluses from the irrigated lands of Nyanza counties feeding the rest of the country.

Of course all riparian countries including Egypt must have an equitable share of access to Nile basin waters.

However, it also needs to be appreciated that all states have a right to economic and social development opportunities.

y George Wachira (email the author)

Posted Wednesday, May 11 2011 at 00:00

Most of the upstream countries (including Kenya ) who are playing an economic development catch-up game will need to use more Nile systems water than they have hitherto required.

It will not be easy for Egypt to countenance a shift from the status quo, and that is why we will not be surprised to see the country come up will all manner of diplomatic and economic cooperation gestures to influence the less developed upstream riparian partners.

It will not be easy for all, because going forward there will be fewer waters available as the global warming impacts hit the watersheds resulting in reduced water flows into the Nile Basin.


This is a new reality that must also be fully taken into account in all future treaty negotiations.

Without sounding unfair to Egypt, the economic inequities between Egypt and other riparian states is often played out in the Comesa trade bloc, where the trade imbalances on agricultural produce are very clearly visible.

EAC will be best placed to co-ordinate and advance those cross-border projects that will maximise mutual economic benefits from the basin waters for members.

This can be in the form of environmental protection of the basin, lake transportation, fisheries development, regional hydropower inter-connectivity.

Wachira is director, Petroleum Focus Consultants.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ethiopia Freezes Nile Water Treaty in Sign of Thaw With Egypt | Africa | English

Ethiopia has agreed to postpone ratification of a treaty on sharing Nile River water until a new Egyptian government takes office to join the negotiations. The delay eases a long-running dispute between upstream countries at the source of the Nile and downstream countries that claim historic rights to the water.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has told a visiting Egyptian delegation he will freeze consideration of a treaty that would reverse colonial-era agreements giving Egypt and Sudan rights to 90 percent of the Nile’s water. Six upper riparian states have signed the deal, clearing the way for ratification. But downstream countries Egypt and Sudan have refused.

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Egypt Mohamoud Dirir Gheddi said the delay is a goodwill gesture to allow Egypt time to elect a new government following the popular uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

"Ethiopia, having seen the current situation in Egypt, where they need to establish their own government and go through a democratic process of election of their president, sees that it is sane and wise to wait for Egypt and give her time. So it is by way of freezing the ratification at parliament that process will be delayed until such time as Egypt comes up with its own popularly elected government," Dirir said.

Members of the Egyptian delegation say they received a similar assurance from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during a visit to Kampala last month. Delegation leader Mustafa el Gindy said the 47-member group asked for a delay of up to a year.

"Six months or a year because we need to stabilize, we need to finalize our revolution. We got Mubarak, we got his ministry, but 30 years of Mubarak in Egypt, there is a lot of ‘Mubarak underground’ who want to kill this revolution. Then we need the time, the year is a maximum to get back strong enough, to sit all together," el Gindy said.

The water-sharing dispute gained new urgency last month when Ethiopia announced it is building a huge 5,000-megawatt power project on the Nile, close to the Sudanese border. El Gindy said the announcement frightened many Egyptians, who were told for decades by the Mubarak government that Ethiopia was trying to steal their water.

"I told the prime minister, 30 years of Mubarak made the Egyptians [think] they don’t trust you. They think you are the man who wants to kill them and cut the water on them," el Gindy said.

Ethiopia’s ambassador Dirir Gheddi says the Mubarak government contributed to the unfriendly atmosphere by blocking international funding for an Ethiopian power project on the Nile.

"There was a baggage of suspicion created by the former regime vis-a-vis Ethiopia that Ethiopia is a conspiring country against Egypt, and of course Egypt has conspired against Ethiopia in the past, persuading international donors like the IMF and World Bank not to fund projects in Ethiopia related to the Nile River," Dirir said.

Egyptian delegation leader el Gindy says that when all Nile riparian countries reach a deal on water-sharing, institutions like the World Bank and IMF will be knocking on their door to fund power generation projects.

News agencies say Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf will visit Ethiopia later this month to follow up on the work of the public diplomacy delegation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Egyptian Chronicles: Ethiopia gives us time

Ethiopia gives us time

The Egyptian public diplomatic delegation made a fantastic achievement Yesterday in Ethiopia as the Nile upstream leading country has decided to halt the construction of renaissance dam and the Nile river treaty till our parliamentary and presidential elections. This is a huge achievement considering the damage made by the Mubarak regime all those years and the the short time given to the public diplomatic delegation.
The Ethiopians also agreed that we form a delegation of experts from Egypt , Ethiopia , Sudan , Africa and also other countries to check the renaissance dam in order to make sure that it will not affect Egypt and Sudan.
The delegation visit the Ethiopian church
The public diplomatic delegation made from public Egyptian personalities like included :
  • Presidential candidates like Bouthina Kamel , Hamdeen Sabhi and Hisham El Bastawisis
  • Public personalities like Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser.
  • Partisan personalities like Siyad Badawy , Mustafa El-Gundy of El Wafd , Osama Ghazli Harb of democratic front and Hussein Ibrahim of Muslim brotherhood
  • Political activists like Karima Hifny and Dr. Mohamed Abu El- Gar
  • Representatives from the January 25th revolutionary youth.
How can a delegation like that succeed in what the Mubarak regime failed to do ? Well may be the Mubarak regime did not want to solve the conflict over the Nile river !! That regime needed to create some sort of an enemy to justify its policies and why we are in need for Mubarak.
The Ethiopians told the delegation that the former regime was overshadowing the the Egyptian Ethiopian relations creating these tensions .
PM Sharaf is going to visit Ethiopia next May 13th insh Allah.
This is a fantastic start despite all the fears and speculations on what will happen after the presidential and parliamentary elections. It is great start and seriously thank all the members of the delegation and also the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs and SCAF for thinking out side the box.