Why Ethiopia and Egypt need to look into multilateral basin-wide solutions as opposed to sub-basin approaches
Zerihun Abebe Yigzaw, Special to Addis Standar
Contemporary Nile Basin is featured by binary discords at basin and sub-basin levels. At the basin wide level upstream states on the one hand and downstream states on the other are in divergent positions regarding a new Nile treaty called Cooperative Framework Agreement on the Nile (CFA), which was negotiated by all riparian states for more than ten years (1997-2010). All riparian states except Egypt followed by Sudan are for the CFA which is the first multilaterally negotiated and signed treaty in the history of the River Nile. At The sub-basin level in Eastern Nile Basin Egypt has shown its anger over Ethiopia`s unilateral move to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a mega dam on the Blue Nile. Sudan affirmed and reaffirmed its support to Ethiopia`s plan appreciating the benefits. Egypt opposes both the CFA and the GERD claiming that both are against its “water security.” Sudan is following Egypt regarding the CFA because it is also a captive of the 1959 bilateral agreement which obliges both to have the same stance regarding any new Nile treaty and claim by other riparian states. This leaves the Nile Basin in the state of hydropolitical deadlock. The absence of any form of agreed treaty between upstream and downstream states is the major impasse of the existing problem including the controversy over the GERD.