Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

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What’s new? Ethiopia is moving ahead with construction of Africa’s largest
dam, despite Egypt’s worry that it will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile,
the source of around 90 per cent of its freshwater supply. It is crucial that the
parties resolve their dispute before the dam begins operating.

Why does it matter? The Nile basin countries could be drawn into conflict
because the stakes are so high: Ethiopia sees the hydroelectric dam as a defining
national development project; Sudan covets the cheap electricity and expanded
agricultural production that it promises; and Egypt perceives the possible loss
of water as an existential threat.

What should be done? The three countries should adopt a two-step approach:
first, they should build confidence by agreeing upon terms for filling the dam’s
reservoir that do not harm downstream countries. Next, they should negotiate a
new, transboundary framework for resource sharing to avert future conflicts.

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International Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995 that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict. It advocates policies directly with governments, multilateral organisations and other political actors as well as the media

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