Uganda: Egypt agrees to Nile Basin hydro power projects?

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Egyptian Minister for International Cooperation has revealed that her
Government is committed to developing the resources of the Nile basin for
the benefit of member countries. This came after President Yoweri Museveni called on Ugandan and Egyptian scientists to work together. A far cry from the North African country’s opposition to the recently signed Cooperative Framework Agreement.

In line with a newly signed Nile Basin agreement, President Museveni wants his country and Egypt to work out a system for Uganda to have irrigation without affecting Egypt and other downstream countries.

The Ugandan President was last evening meeting the visiting Egyptian Minister for International Co-operation, Ms. Faiza Abu Naga, at State House in Entebbe. “Scientists need to work out possibilities of having standby water to be used during the drought season to boost agricultural production,” Museveni said, while stressing on the lack of electricity as an important issue to be dealt with.

A far cry from her country’s opposition to a new Nile Basin agreement that seeks a fair distribution of the Nile water resource for member countries, the visiting Minister for International Cooperation Faiza Abu Naga said that “The Nile basin countries need to develop their own hydro power potential as a prerequisite for development.”

The Egyptian Minister also revealed that her Government is committed to developing the resources of the Nile basin for the benefit of the member countries, including contributing to electricity generation in Uganda.

The River Nile Basin countries include Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt.

The meeting comes only two months after Egypt and Sudan strongly opposed and refused to give their stamp of approval to the Nile Basin agreement (Cooperative Framework Agreement – CPA) which had been ongoing for at least 13 years. The CPA was later signed by upstream Nile basin countries, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.

Some analysts had expressed fears that the tension following the CPA could degenerate into a “water war“, especially after Egypt had announced that the the Nile’s water was a matter of national security, and could therefore prompt the use of military force if the North African country felt that their interests on the river were threatened.

Egypt and Sudan oppose the departure from pre-independent and colonial Nile river treaties, signed between them and Great Britain on behalf of its African colonies, which favour the two countries’ use of more than 90 per cent of the Nile water resource, as well as veto powers over upstream projects.

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