Nile River Agreement

To this day, Egypt argues that the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1929 and its amended version, the 1959 agreement, are still valid. The 1959 agreement signed by Egypt and an independent Sudan brought Egypt`s share to 55.5 billion cubic meters and Sudan`s share to 18.5 billion cubic meters. These bilateral agreements have completely ignored the needs of other coastal countries, including Ethiopia, which supplies between 70 and 80 per cent of the Nile`s waters. As a result, none of the other countries in the Nile basin ever approved the agreement. Another challenge for the Nile is the decrease in flow due to increasingly rare rainfall in Ethiopia and other upstream countries. In addition, Lake Victoria, a source of 20% to 30% of nile water, is shrinking at an alarming rate. The interim agreement, negotiated by the US Treasury Secretary and the President of the World Bank, is not very detailed, says Emmanuel Igunza of the BBC. In the past, Egypt has taken an aggressive approach to the Nile River. Cairo regards the Nile as a matter of national security and the declarations continue to contain threats of military measures against Ethiopia if it intervenes in the river as stipulated in the agreements signed in 1929 and 1959. The 2015 agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan – Sudan acting as a mediator – is a significant but predictable change in Cairo`s approach to the Nile – that these colonial agreements are not sustainable. About 85 per cent of the water flowing into the Nile comes from the Ethiopian highlands crossing the Blue Nile; The rest comes from the White Nile.

It was simply unrealistic and unsustainable for Egypt to believe that it could continue to prevent Ethiopia from using the water resources of its borders to meet the needs of its people. While it is true that Egyptians depend entirely on Nile waters for all their needs, they must be sensitive to the development needs of upstream riparian countries, particularly because they, particularly Ethiopia, are able to cause considerable damage to the quantity and quality of water flowing into the Nile. This is why the practical and conciliatory attitude of the Egyptian leaders in their decision to support the Addis Ababa “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” (GERDP) project should be welcomed. However, Cairo must go further and sign and ratify the CFA without insisting on amendments to Article 14, point b), in order to guarantee Egypt the rights created by the Agreements on Nile waters. With the CFA, the 11 riparian countries can negotiate in good faith to agree on an all-inclusive allocation formula that is considered fair, fair and reasonable. As Africa is increasingly affected by climate change, the continent`s various groups must agree to cooperate in the development of institutional structures that can improve their ability to live together peacefully and distribute their natural resources, including water, in a fair and sustainable manner.