Someone once remarked that Africa’s next big war will neither be caused by ideological or political differences, but water.
The logic behind that conclusion was River Nile which has long been regarded as a bone of contention. A loop-sided division of the Nile by the British during colonial times gave Egypt and Sudan unfair share of the waters.
Both countries realized that sooner than later, the other counties will demand a fair share of the Nile as they began exploiting the river for developmental purposes. Organisations such as the Nile Basin Initiative that groups together ten countries of the region were created in anticipation that the Nile would one day become a powder keg so it needed to be handled with kid gloves.
Ethiopia’s decision to build the giant Renaissance Dam, Africa’s largest, is raising tension, especially in the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan which regard the river as their lifeline.
That issue has been discussed by the concerned countries for many years but with Egypt holding out as it does not want its water quota reduced. Now Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have taken their dispute to the most unlikely referee; the United States or more precisely, Donald Trump.
What is most alarming s that the loud cry out there, “that Africa can solve its problems”, is becoming meaningless more and more. When terror engulfed the West African region, especially the Sahel, all the concerned countries trooped to Paris to discuss an issue taking place in their compounds.
It seemed that between them, they could find no common denominator, only their former master held the keys. But back to the Nile talks, if Trump can pull it off he will have helped avert a major conflict and African countries could even forgive him for the not-so-kind word he used to describe them.