Countries vow to ignore Egypt, Sudan on Nile deal

Nile Basin member states are determined to move ahead and ratify the Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA) without Egypt, Sudan and DRC, the Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi has said.

Nile Basin member states are determined to move ahead and ratify the Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA) without Egypt, Sudan and DRC, the Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi has said.

The agreement seeks to establish a permanent River Nile Basin Commission through which member countries will jointly manage and develop resources of the Nile.

The upstream countries that have so far signed include Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has not consented but is expected to sign soon.

Egypt and Sudan have persistently refused to sign the agreement which, if signed and ratified by governments, will give all countries in the Nile Basin equal rights on the waters.

Both countries want to maintain hegemonic control over the waters.

“We have reviewed the progress made by the countries that signed the agreement and we intend to have all the national parliaments ratifying the agreement before June and we move on,” Kamanzi said during an interview held on the sidelines of a Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers (NELCOM) meeting held in Kigali this week this week.

Kamanzi added that regional countries have for long been patiently waiting for Egypt and Sudan to sign on grounds of cooperation but they will now have to look at interests of their people and have the agreement ratified.

He added; “There are reasons as to why we need to move forward and have this agreement ratified, issues of climate change being among but also, for Rwanda, we intend to increase rice production and need water for irrigation. We also need to boost our hydro electric production which requires mass water usage.”

A 1929 pact between Egypt and Britain gives Egypt veto powers over upstream projects as well as access to most of the Nile waters.

Representing people


Further still, a 1959 pact between Egypt and Sudan, allowed the two countries 55.5 billion and 18.5 billion cubic metres of water, respectively, every year. Under the new framework, there is no specific volume of water allocated to any country.

Rwanda has maintained that these past treaties are unfair and wants a reasonable water-sharing pact that allows for more irrigation and power projects.

“We did not want to leave other countries like Egypt and Sudan out of the equation but we represent our people and whatever decision we make impacts on them; that’s why we have to move forward and have the CFA ratified,” said Kamanzi.

Egypt and Sudan have argued their water supply would be dangerously reduced if upstream countries are able to divert the river flow without multilateral consultation.

During the just-concluded NELCOM in Kigali, Egypt was represented by its ambassador to Rwanda who declined to address the meeting when requested.

Egypt’s 80 million inhabitants draw about 90 percent of their water needs from the Nile. Cairo maintains that, even by the favourable terms of current agreements, its water needs cannot be met by the Nile alone after 2017.

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