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Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan To Sign Deal Over Blue Nile Dam After AU Intervention



Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are expected to sign an agreement over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam the former is building on Blue Nile, in the coming few weeks. That was reported by some media on June 27, 2020.


The expected signing of the deal follows an intervention by the African Union (AU) into a dispute that has been ongoing for sometimes now, over the gigantic hydro-electric dam project. Ethiopia has so far maintained the hydro-electric dam is vital for its development and particularly eradicating poverty, while Egypt and Sudan fear the dam will adversely affect the Nile water level downstream hence threaten their water supply needs. Previous attempts to reach an agreement over the dam project by the three countries through different mediators failed. Hitherto the AU intervention, Ethiopia had threatened to begin filling up the dam in early July 2020 to coincide with its rainy season, with or without an agreement with Egypt and Sudan.


A previous treaty over the use of the Nile waters, that date back to the British colonial era in Africa, is said to favor Egypt. As such, other countries that share the world’s longest river, especially those upstream like Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia, have lambasted the validity of the colonial era treaty and called for its replacement by new unbiased agreements.


As the Nile is shared by so many countries, it is imperative that the various benefits it offers are also shared equitably among those countries. Treaties over the use the waters of the river that favor one or more countries do not therefore make sense. The AU’s success in resolving the Blue Nile hydro-electric dam dispute clearly indicates that through dialogue and spirit of Pan-Africanism, it is possible to reach contemporary agreements over the use of the waters of the Nile, that are inclusive in terms of water supply for different needs both upstream and downstream.

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