KIGALI - Environment Minister, Stanislas Kamanzi, has said that donors cannot refuse to fund projects on the Nile just because some Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) member states like Egypt and Sudan have not signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA).
There have been reports that Egypt has vowed to lobby donors not to fund any project in the Nile basin before an agreement that satisfies all concerned states is reached.
“The international Community doesn’t operate like that, they are sensitive and reasonable. We don’t expect that and I don’t see the community (International) communicating to the respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs about such an embargo,” Kamanzi said in an interview, yesterday.
Kenya last week became the fifth of nine NBI member countries to disregard an Egypt-Sudan boycott and move forward with the signing of the pact that advocates for equitable sharing of the River Nile waters. Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia signed the deal recently.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi are the other member states that have not put pen to paper, and Kamanzi says, it is just a matter of time.
“The General Secretary of the Nile Basin Initiative has been to DRC to take the required documents at the invitation of the Congolese Minister,” he said. “For Burundi, they are currently busy with preparations for elections but they will also sign soon.”
Kamanzi added that once Burundi or DRC sign, the agreement will become operational, since the minimum number of signature required is six.
The agreement seeks to establish a permanent Nile River Basin commission, which will set clear procedures of water sharing, thereby replacing the two widely disputed colonial-era pacts that are deemed unfair by the seven countries.
However, Kamanzi expressed optimism that Egypt and Sudan will sign the agreement, adding that even the date that was set for signing the agreement was not convenient for all the states.
“We haven’t lost hope and the diplomatic work will go on,” he said.
The agreement has been dismissed by Egypt and Sudan, who insist that article 14 (b) takes away their historical rights and use of the Nile waters.
The article states: “Nile Basin States, agree, in a spirit of cooperation, to work together to ensure that all states achieve and sustain water security and not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.”
Egypt and Sudan want the last part of the article re-phrased to read, “Not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin States.”