President Morsi Takes on Nile River Issues in Ethiopia

Nile River, Egypt, President Morsi, Ethiopia, Grand Renaissance DamOn his first visit to Ethiopia as President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi stressed his country’s desire to peacefully negotiate with other Nile Basin countries regarding a longstanding dispute over Nile River water rights. That Morsi visited Addis Ababa at such an early stage of his presidential term reflects his determination to maintain Egypt’s annual share of 55 million cubic meters granted in a 1929 treaty. But it won’t be easy.

An African Market

At an African Union meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, President Morsi sought support from other Nile Basin countries to rebuild Egypt and a stronger “African Market,” reports The National.

“I would like to officially announce that Egypt has a desire to work towards a common African market,” he said. “Egypt will use its human and financial resources to ensure that. We stress our concern with education, health, construction and development.”

Naturally Egypt and Sudan would like to continue their long held monopoly on the Nile’s water, but a coalition of the remaining basin countries and a $4.8 billion dam project jeopardizes their privileged access.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been fighting to reclaim Ethiopia’s fair share of the Nile River in order to develop the country’s agricultural and electricity sectors. But environmentalists are concerned that the hastily-planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will have negative environmental and social consequences. A team of experts analyzing its impact will release its findings next year.

Other critics warn that despite issuing bonds to finance the dam’s construction, the country can’t afford a project of this scale.

Egypt’s Bargaining Power

To date Egypt has been able to use its political sway to discourage international investors from supporting the Renaissance dam project, but that has not alleviated fears that its 83 million strong populace will lose one of its only steady supplies of water.

Former Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohamed Nasr El Din Allam expressed concern in March that Ethiopia’s dam will cause great “political, economic and social instability” in Egypt. And now Ethiopia has planned to make the dam even deeper than originally planned.

Instead of digging to 90 meters, Ethiopia hopes to expand the dam’s depth to 150 meters in order to optimize the amount of electrical power that can be produced. The dam will also provide irrigation for a variety of agricultural projects.

Meanwhile, even with its current share of the Nile’s water, Egypt will still face shortages in the years to come. Now is a good time to take water conservation, water recycling, and irrigation efficiency more seriously back home.

:: The National

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12 thoughts on “President Morsi Takes on Nile River Issues in Ethiopia”

  1. Very good blog post. I definitely love this website.
    Stick with it!

  2. Aine Belay says:

    Does Ethiopia and it’s people need the blessing of Egypt to feed or strive our selves ,I don’t think so This is my water my land ,my right to use my source .The Ethiopian people knows how to make peace as well as punish our enemies.Any attempt by Egypt to try to stop the project is grave consequence ,we are not living in a glass house but they are so question is simple don’t through a stone on us because we now how to through back.

  3. we know dat egypt wants to bombard our dam but the consequence will be an endless war.

  4. we ethiopians want to use the water of nile in amaner that will never affect other nation.but if any nation stand vs us in war we will show them our history and ablity.ethiopia is #1 in the world.

  5. goytom says:

    It was Collins to say , ‘perhaps the weight of history lies too heavy in silt of Nile valley ,but man always need water; and in the end this may drive him to the river to drink with his enemies’…..but I speak sooner than that it is superlative to drink while being friends.

  6. tagesseT says:

    It is high time to discuss and give ultimatum solution for the fair distttinution of NILE R iver. Egyptian think of in the old fashioned we are in the 20 th century and Ethiopiamdand Ethiopian diplomacy and military mighty is high.It is not the time the time to threaten a certain county not utilise its our resources (Nile).Ethiopians in and im diaspora stand firmly to utilise our resource with the coming new goverment even the defunct leader dies or ills.

  7. Samuel A. says:

    I think Balay, Assafa and Goer have rightly put that the case of Ethiopia is all about fairness. Why are Egypt and Sudan looking into their own interest only and try to deprive the right of Ethiopians and other citizens of other Nile basin countries? Over 3/4 of the water of the river Nile comes from Ethiopia (that is over 86%) yet it is deprived of building a dam, a dam that would be used for hydropower project yet Egypt that contributes nothing but consumes a lot (almost all) get the “Veto Power” on the entire river? That’s purely insane.

    The story behind is this. The colonialists (the British) had their deep interest and in those days were venturing on textiles and fresh agricultural produce. Since almost all the Nile basin countries were colonized by the British (Ethiopia was an exception as it was never colonized) they had to use their colonial power to sign on behalf of those countries for an exclusive use of the Nile by Egypt and Sudan for their cotton, vegetables, fruits and other produce. Egypt, (eventually the colonial power then which is the British) was given a Veto power. Mind you it wasn’t Egypt given the veto power but the colonialists themselves giving a veto power for themselves because they were the once signing or influencing for the signing of the so called “colonial agreement”.

    For generations Egypt knows well that they couldn’t stop Ethiopia from building the dam as the so called “colonial agreement” doesn’t bind Ethiopia but they had a big influence and a stupid attitude in influencing major financing institutions including the IMF and World Bank. By all means they ensured that Ethiopia remained poor and immersed in war even supporting countries that would destabilize Ethiopia. Ethiopia has seen various famines unable to feed it’s people while Egypt as its population play with the water of the Nile, pouring the Nile waters into the desert for rubbish projects and even watering the desert with the remaining water flowing the the Mediterranean sea. I believe the famine, drought, instability, fights and wars in Ethiopia were a very good news in Egypt and Sudan.

    The time has now come for Ethiopia to build big projects as it is now economically more stronger before and is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Even with that Ethiopia is not claiming all the 86% of the Nile water share that is flowing out from its territory but calling for fair use. Ethiopia is not seeking Egypt’s and Sudan’s damnation and doom but still calling for fairness. For God’s sake can Egypt and Sudan stop this stupidity and insanity? Those two countries should come to their senses and think of fairness. That’s the only way out and not acting a “supper power” and “master” of other countries. The fact is that so many Egyptians don’t even know the origins of the river Nile, some think it comes from within Egypt and so many Egyptian politicians use the Nile issue to cover-up so many other issues and play their political game. They better get ready to sit down, talk, be constructive and fairly negotiate.

  8. Goer says:

    Ethiopia is claiming fairness, that is holy and rational. then the people of Ethiopia and Egypt will live with peace and love forever. Extreme selfishness will never prevail.

  9. Assefa says:

    Ethiopia, besides being the source of the Blue Nile, which contributes more than 80% of the Nile, has been known for for its poverty and frequent famine. While Egypt and Sudan heavily depend on the Nile, it will not be a fair and sane judgement to block others from using the resource others have equal (In case of Ethiopia, even more) rights. It will give a lasting solution for this outstanding problem if all the countries in the basin can agree on fair and responsible usage of this dear natural resource.

    For Egypt and Sudan to have a veto over this natural resource has always been a problem to the people of Ethiopia and it is greatly responsible for the situation the people in Ethiopia find themselves today, deep poverty and a country whose name is synonymous with drought, famine and hunger.

    Hence it stands to sane reason that Ethiopia make effort as much as possible to remove this barrier and open for a fair utilization of this natural resource without denying others the right to use it in a reasonable way. There should not be any imposition by any country saying that ‘Since we are already using whatever billion cubic meters to water our farms and golf fields in our cities, you can only use whatever is remaining’.

    Time has come for real negotiation and real agreements that can hold water for Ethiopia and other upper riparian countries so that they can start base projects upon which their future developments can be founded. I hope to see a positive result from the discussions between the current Egyptian government and Ethiopia on this matter.

  10. Belay says:

    It will be a plus if Egypt gave its consent to the renaissance dam, but Ethiopia will continue to build the dam with or without its blessing.

  11. Our Ethiopian fans –– what do you think of all this?

  12. Except for its internal conflict, I’d guess the Nile River is pretty much going to define Egypt’s economy in the next couple of hundred years. Without the Nile Egypt will have nothing.

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