Sunday, December 27, 2015

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan ministers to meet Sunday | Egypt Independent

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan ministers to meet Sunday

A six-party meeting of Foreign and Irrigation ministers from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, will begin on Sunday amid fears of repeating previous negotiation failures.
The three countries hope to agree on the issues related to the studies done on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The three parties are looking to sign a document that governs the results of the studies, in order to ensure they are committed to negotiations following the announcement of these results.
Official Egyptian sources said the six-party meeting will occur amid political conditions that urge the three countries to reach a compromise in order to meet the aspirations of the countries' peoples with regards to development.
The ministers of the three countries are resolved to ending the controversy and tension which have been ongoing for the past five years, ever since the foundations for the Renaissance Dam were laid in 2011. Tensions could enter a new phase next year, as Ethiopia plans to conclude the first phase of the project and announce the storing of 14 billion cubic meters of the Nile water, the sources added.
The next meeting seeks to develop an appropriate mechanism for the road map to activate the agreement of principles on the ground, especially those related to the fifth item of the agreement which governs the start and duration of water storage in the dam throughout the year, said Water Resources Minister Hossam Moghazi.
A mechanism to respond to Egyptian concerns will be developed during the meeting, said Moghazi, stressing that the six-party meeting will complete the final version for the road map agreed upon in Khartoum, as well as Malabo's statement.
Once the three countries agree on the points of contention, the six-party meeting's role will end. Substantive technical negotiations will then begin, said Moghazi, stressing that negotiations are the only means to end the dispute on the technical studies of the dam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Nile Basin challenges and opportunities - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Mohamed Yassin
The Nile Basin is an extended unique and rich territory in the African continent, which extends over diverse climatic regimes. Currently, the Nile basin is hosting almost half billion inhabitants (more than 42% of the African total population) and projected to double its populations in a rapid pattern within this century to reach around half of the continent projected population. The Nile Basin is endowed with significant natural resources and considerable biodiversity heritage. The Nile Basin has been and continues to host important civilizations and natural biospheres. The current political composition of the Nile Basin is eleven sovereign riparian states, namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Each of those riparian states has its own challenges and opportunities in terms of proper development, socioeconomic growth and prosperity. Ideally, each riparian can address its own challenges and harvest its untapped opportunities, but in reality each one is interdependent and interconnected with the other adjacent or non-adjacent riparian states in a way or another.
The Nile River is the common binding natural resources for all that countries and historically has been a founding fountain of livelihood for all within the Nile Basin and continue to be an important connection with Mediterranean and Asian populations and rest of the world. These countries have embarked in international and transboundary cooperation and dialogue for the water management, usage and development through diverse fora such as the Nile Basin Initiative with its secretariat in Uganda, Entebbe and the subsidiary offices in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and Rwanda, Kigali. However, most of those efforts were limited only on conflictive focus on the water in separation from the rest of the ecological base and foundation and the supplementary tangible and intangible resources necessary for sustaining a sustainable livelihood in a comprehensive setting. Historically the management of Nile Basin resources have been managed in cooperative and competitive styles depending on epochal phases.
In the contemporary situation, these riparian countries need to have cooperative and sound competitive concerted and coordinated actions. That is a must need to foster the socio-economic development and its sustainability. Of course, each riparian country needs to reconcile its developmental needs and priorities with that of sister riparian country. Any unilateral actions to exploit monopolize the sharable benefits from the River Nile and its ecosystems will results in harmful impacts and outcomes for the very and single actor. It will be impossible for a single riparian country to monopolize the benefits and have the lion share of the River Nile, what so ever it is, unless the riparian countries merge in single institutional body united under the Nile Basin, for example an imaginable and possible the Nile Basin Community. That unionistic and mutualistic transformation might results in more beneficial, supportive, consolidating and solidarity spirit among the integrateable territories of the Nile Basin. All the Nile Basin riparian states as the rest of the planet are facing the challenge of how to reconcile the sustainable development and prosperity with the nature conservations and environmental protection.
The cooperation, collaboration and coordination of the sustainable management of the Nile Basin territorial capital, goes beyond a mandate of single line ministry of irrigation and water resources. A shift to a more inclusive, comprehensive, holistic and participatory approaches are imperative needs for all the Nile Basin community and that shoulders huge responsibilities on those who are currently leading the policy making and formulating the regional planning for the populations of the Nile Basin. All the Nile Basin states have a non-disputable right to carry on its national and strategic developmental short, medium and long terms plans and visions. All are facing challenging and complex food and nutrition security issues dictated by limited resources and growing demography, environmental and climate related challenges coupled with undergoing processes of industrialization and exploitation of the natural endowments, conservation of heritage and erection of infrastructures to sustain the territorial, socio-economic transformation and political stability and dynamics.
If we consider the infrastructures for the hydropower production and distribution, irrigation and resource management needed to boost the sustainable development in the Blue and Eastern Nile countries, namely Egypt, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan, comprehensively we can count around fifteen existing hydropower projects. With diverse developmental status among and within these four riparian countries, and if we go further deeper and extract the planned hydropower projects featuring in their national plans, we will notice that there are around twenty five, more or less new hydropower projects to be erected (See attached maps of the Nile Basin Initiative) to guarantee power security and socio-economic development and stability.
The current dispute and conflictive atmosphere created upon the under construction Millennium or Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is just one spot in the wider developmental scenario which will be witnessed in that Eastern Nile Region. Ethiopia is naturally gifted and endowed with considerable magnitude of water and high lands which qualify it to be an important Hydropower production hub, which can secure its energy needs and goes beyond to supply the region. At the same time, other parts of the region have its endowments which are not equally available among the Ethiopian natural capital and that could be compensate through analogues regional trade (Theory of comparative advantage and international trade can apply and fit the situation).
If we consider the Newly independent republic of South Sudan, we notice that currently it has zero hydropower plant and in its national strategic plans, it is qualified to erect around four hydropower projects which are Fula, Shukoli, Lakki and Bedden, and Sudan has plans to erect numerous new dams in addition to the newly terminated Morowe dam, these are Dal Low and Dal High, Kagbar, Dagash, Shereik and Sabaloka dams. While Egypt has a planned new dam at Assiut / Asyut. Doubtless, the erection of all that planned hydropower plants and projects will have huge socio-economic, environmental, ecological, landscape and territorial transformations and impacts, negative be it or positive. Surely that makes the cooperation among these directly engaged riparian countries as well as the rest of the Nile Basin Countries an non escapable necessity.
The future scenarios require frank dialogue and courageous confrontations putting a Nile Basin integrated community as top priority to address the current and latent challenges and at the same time work collectively to share the potential benefits of the expected positive and contractive transformation.
Mohamed Yassin is a Sudanese and Italian PhD candidate (2013-2015) in Economics, Ecology, Landscape and Territory at the Department of Civil Engineering & Architecture, University of Udine, Italy. He holds B.Sc. in Agricultural and Rural Economy (UoK Sudan), PGD in Rural development in Developing countries, PGD in International Development Cooperation, Masters in International Business Import Export Management and a M.Sc. in International Veterinary Cooperation (Italy). He has been visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota (USA) where he conducted research works on the Nile Basin. He is reachable at E: E:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Djibouti-Ethiopia water project launched | Shanghai Daily

DJIBOUTI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Sunday officially launched the cross-border water supply project between Ethiopia and Djibouti, in the country's southern town of Ali-Sabieh.
The event which was attended by a strong ministerial delegation from Ethiopia, coincided with the celebrations to mark the World Water Day.
The project involves supply of groundwater from Ethiopia's Hadagalla town to Djibouti's key towns of Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Arta and the capital
Through the project, Djibouti will be freely receiving 100,000 cubic meters of water daily for the next 20 years.
The project whose cost was estimated to be 22 million U.S. dollars that was provided by China Exim Bank, will be implemented by CGCOC, a Chinese company that also won the tender to construct a road linking the two countries.
With the launch of this project, the Djiboutian government hopes to end the perennial water problem and embark on achieving its long term development programs.
Guelleh said with this project, his country had managed to win the battle against water shortage which had always been an obstacle to Djibouti's development.
With an annual average of 200 mm of rain water per year in most parts of its national territory, Djibouti has always been classified as a country in a chronic water stress situation.
Drought, famine and their corollary consequences such as nomadic movement, impoverishment of the rural population and death of animals have worsened the situation, making local authorities to prioritize water shortage since the country's independence 38 years ago.
Speaking after the ceremony, Djibouti president hailed the existing economic partnership between his country and China.
"I particularly want to thank China. We are grateful to have China as our first economic partner," Guelleh said, adding that his country had excellent relations with China.
"China has always been on our side, it has trusted us and it is not like other countries that criticize our choices. On behalf of the Djiboutian government and people, I want to say thank you to the People's Republic of China," he concluded.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sudan: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Sign Deal on Water Sharing -

EgyptEthiopia and Sudan signed an initial agreement Monday on sharing water from the Nile, which runs through all three, as Ethiopia presses ahead with its construction of a massive new dam it hopes will help alleviate the country’s power shortages. The dam had been an issue of contention among the countries, with Egypt concerned it would reduce its share of the Nile established under a colonial-era agreement. But on Monday, leaders of the three nations welcomed the agreement in speeches in Khartoum. It outlines principles by which they are to cooperate to use the water fairly and resolve any potential disputes peacefully, leaving details on specific procedures to be determined later after the release of joint, expert studies.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Nile River Nations Agree to Cooperate, but Danger Lurks for One of Planet’s Great Wetlands – (blog) National Geographic

The beginning of the Blue Nile near its outlet from Lake Tana in the highlands of Ethiopia. Photo by Ondrej Zvácek/Creative Commons
The beginning of the Blue Nile near its outlet from Lake Tana in the highlands of Ethiopia. Photo by Ondrej Zvácek/Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia reached agreement on basic principles for managing what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, which is now under construction on the Blue Nile near the Ethiopian-Sudanese border.
While the unilateral building of big dams is often a trigger for conflict in international river basins, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has the potential to forge much-needed cooperation and some win-win opportunities for those three Nile Basin countries.
Although its details have yet to be disclosed, the agreement would appear to open pathways to shared economic benefits from the Nile’s waters as well as to greater flexibility and resilience in times of drought.
But it also creates conditions for the resurrection of an engineering scheme in South Sudan that could harm one of the largest and most wildlife-rich wetlands in the world.
A Complicated History
The Nile Basin now has 11 countries within it, but the two most downstream – Egypt and Sudan – have staked claims to the entire river’s flow.
The Blue Nile originates in the highlands of Ethiopia. At Sudan’s capital of Khartoum, it joins the White Nile, which begins around Lake Victoria.   The two then flow together as one Nile north into Egypt and out to the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt has long worried – with good reason – that upstream water development in Ethiopia would cut off some of its lifeline. Egyptian leaders from Anwar Sadat to Mohammed Morsi have warned of going to war over water if the nation’s supplies became threatened.
A stumbling block to equitable water-sharing in the basin is a 1959 treaty between Egypt and Sudan that allocated the entire flow of the Nile to just those two countries, even though 84 percent of the river’s flow originates in Ethiopia. Not surprisingly, Ethiopia never recognized the legitimacy of that agreement. But for decades it had neither the political stability nor the financial means to undertake the kind of large-scale water development that would challenge Egypt’s historic claims to the river.
That situation changed in 2011. As Egypt was preoccupied with the Arab Spring and the fall of the Mubarak government, Ethiopia announced that it would begin construction of a massive dam on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan.
Now about 30 percent complete, the 145-meter-high Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to cost some $4.8 billion and be completed in 2017. (If experience with other big dams holds true, it will cost more and take longer than these estimates.) The GERD would have the capacity to generate more than twice as much hydroelectric power as Egypt’s Aswan Dam, and more than Ethiopia itself can use for some time. The sale of power to neighboring Sudan is therefore critical to make the project financially viable. (Some experts saythat Ethiopia has grossly overestimated the amount of power the dam will actually produce with the river flows available.)
The GERD would also be able to store more than a year’s worth of the Nile’s flow. Filling the reservoir, especially if done during dry years, would almost certainly reduce flows into Egypt.
But if equitable water-sharing accompanies rules for filling and operating the dam, the three countries could find themselves with more total water to share. That’s because evaporation rates are lower at the Grand Renaissance location than at Aswan. So storing more Nile water at the GERD, and less at Aswan, should add to the total water available for energy and irrigation among the three countries.
Moreover, since hydropower runs water through turbines but does not “consume” it, Ethiopia’s decision to pursue a more hydroelectric-centered approach to economic development, rather than one based heavily on highly water-consumptive irrigated agriculture, actually benefits Egypt. Less water consumption upstream means more is available to flow downstream into Egypt.
As Nile Basin expert Dale Whittington of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his colleagues write in the journal Water Policy, the Grand Renaissance Dam “is Ethiopia’s first big step on a hydropower water development path for the Blue Nile, and Egypt should encourage Ethiopia to choose this option.”
But the Nile flows through Sudan first, and with a reliable supply of irrigation water from the GERD, Sudan’s fertile lands could boost the nation’s food production and exports. Because Sudan has never used its full allotment of the Nile under the 1959 treaty, Egypt has actually been using part of Sudan’s share in addition to its own. An expansion of irrigated agriculture in Sudan could reduce flows into Egypt.
Greatly complicating the situation, when Sudan divided into two nations, there was no clarification of how Sudan and South Sudan would share the Nile’s water. Seeing an opportunity, Egypt has signed an agreement with South Sudan to cooperate in the development of the new nation’s water sources – presumably in a way that would yield more water for Egypt.

Fishing in the Sudd wetlands of South Sudan.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Fishing in the Sudd wetlands of South Sudan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Enter the Sudd Swamps
A leading contender for the development of South Sudan’s water is the resurrection of an engineering scheme known as the Jonglei Canal. Designed decades ago, it would divert the White Nile away from the vast Sudd Swamps, a watery wilderness that supports a treasure trove of wildlife –including elephant, gazelle, hippopotamus, zebra and several varieties of antelope.
The Sudd wetlands are also home to millions of migratory birds during the course of the year, with the glossy ibis population alone numbering some 1.7 million during the dry season.
A number of Nilotic tribes — including the Dinkas, Nuer and Shilluk – also thrive in the Sudd. With populations collectively numbering 200,000-400,000, they key their lives of pastoralism, fishing and agriculture to the seasonal cycle of flooding and the rich biodiversity of the region.
But the very vastness that makes the Sudd such an important and unique habitat also makes it a source of huge evaporation losses. The goal of the Jonglei Project — which was 70 percent complete when the Sudanese civil war broke out in 1983 – was to capture about 4 billion cubic meters of water a year (just under 5 percent of the Nile’s total annual flow) that would otherwise evaporate.
The ecological and cultural harms from the project were never fully examined, but could include a drying out of grazing lands, a drop in groundwater levels, the collapse of fisheries and the loss of critical habitat for wildlife.
In 2006, the Sudd was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, shining a spotlight on the Sudd’s importance to global conservation.
But in its quest for water security, Egypt now eyes the completion of the Jonglei irrigation scheme as a priority.
So while on balance the recently signed agreement between the three Nile nations shows promise for easing tensions and sharing the river’s benefits more equitably, the new risks to the Sudd are real and warrant consideration at the negotiating table.
Through investments in irrigation efficiency, smarter water management, regional trade and sound economic development, the three nations can benefit from greater cooperation over the Nile without sacrificing one of the region’s – and planet’s – great wetland wildernesses.
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues.  She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia agree basis of Nile water deal - Yahoo News


Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) attends a press conference on the sidelines of meetings in Khartoum on March 3, 2015 between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to try to resolve a dispute over a dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile

View photo

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) attends a press conference on the sidelines of meetings in Khartoum on March 3, 2015 between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to try to resolve a dispute over a dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)
Khartoum (AFP) - The foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia said early on Friday they had reached the basis of an agreement on the sharing of Nile waters and Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam.
"A full agreement has been reached between our three countries on the principles of the use of the eastern Nile Basin and the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti told reporters early on Friday morning.
The principles will be submitted to the heads of the three states for approval, Karti said at a press conference.
The talks, which started in Khartoum on Tuesday, focused on the sharing of the Nile river waters between the countries and resolving a dispute over a hydroelectric dam being built by Addis Ababa.
Egypt fears Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project would diminish its share of the river waters.
In several rounds of talks, Ethiopia has said the project will have no effect on Sudan and Egypt downstream.
Karti hailed the basis as "a new path in the relations of our three countries" but gave no further details of the document.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said the agreed principles marked "the beginning of more cooperation between our three countries".
His Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom said the deal would open "a new chapter between the three countries".
Egypt has expressed opposition to any project that might disrupt the flow of the Nile.
But the principles agreed upon "answer the concerns" of Egypt and Sudan, Egypt's water resources minister said.
The Blue Nile joins the White Nile at Khartoum to form the Nile, which flows through Sudan and Egypt before emptying into the Mediterranean.
Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile in May 2013 to build the 6,000 MW dam which will be Africa's largest when completed in 2017.
Ethiopian officials have said the project to construct the 1,780-metre-long and 145-metre high dam will cost $4.2 billion (3.2 billion euros).
Egypt believes its "historic rights" to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile's flow.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tanzania parliament disappointed over delay to ratify Nile River agreement -Coastweek -

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) --  Tanzanian parliament on Monday said the delay by the government to ratify the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) was denying the east African country the right to make good use of the Nile River water.
“Tanzania could have benefitted through the use of the Nile River water for power generation, irrigation farming and for domestic use,” Saidi Nkumba, the vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Water, Agriculture and Livestock, told the National Assembly in Dodoma when tabling the January 2014 to January 2015 implementation report of the parliamentary on water, agriculture and livestock.
Nkumba said the agreement has set clear procedures of the Nile River water sharing among the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) member states of Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt and Sudan.
He said only Ethiopia and Rwanda have ratified the CFA.
In October 2014, Mark Mwandosya, the Minister of State in the President’s Office, said the cabinet has okayed the CFA to be ratified.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Egypt Water Report Q1 2015 - New Market Research Report | USPRwire

New Materials research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research

[USPRwire, Mon Jan 26 2015] This quarter has seen the extensive upgrading of our water sector forecasts for Egypt, which now include mains and sewage network connectivity, desalinated water production, non mains consumption and treated wastewater forecasts. We have also revised our existing forecasts to take the new data into account. Overall, we believe that the political recovery, and influx of financial support and foreign investment from various sources including the UAE and the US, will improve the country's economy, and increased stability will encourage sustained water infrastructure investment. Given the ongoing risks of reduced water availability due to the Ethiopian dam plans, we view the additional investment as crucial to boosting Egypt's water resources over the medium term.

The election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been positive for Egypt's infrastructure development and the country's economy in general. Our Country Risk team expects a significant upswing in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Egypt over the coming quarters as political stability and pent-up demand entice investors back into the country. Furthermore, President Sisi has indicated that infrastructure development is a top priority for his government and given the imminent threat of a reduction in the Nile flows following the completion of the contentious Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, we expect water infrastructure to be a central concern.

Full Report Details at

In our view, some form of compromise between Ethiopia and Egypt will be required, if a dangerous escalation of tensions is to be avoided. That compromise would likely entail Egypt turning its attention towards desalination projects - possibly with funding assistance from the World Bank - as a way to compensate for a reduced share of Nile waters. Such an increase in investment in desalination programmes will in any case likely be required, even if Egypt were to continue to tap its share of Nile waters. Such investment is relatively low, and the country...

The Egypt Water Report has been researched at source and features latest-available data covering public and private sector investment in all major water projects including water extraction, water distribution and water treatment and sanitation projects and also includes competitive intelligence. The report features Business Monitor International (BMI)'s independent industry forecasts and analysis of latest industry news, trends and regulatory developments in Egypt.

BMI's Egypt Water Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, business investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the water industry in Egypt.

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