Are we on the verge of the first water-war?
By Tayech Berihun
The conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia is becoming more serious as Ethiopia is two weeks away from starting to fill its dam.
Egypt has therefore requested the UN Security Council to intervene.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ethiopia is currently building the ~$5b GERD, the largest hydro-dam project in Africa, and it’s using the Blue Nile as the source. At its maximum, it is expected to generate 6,000 mW of electricity. Enough to provide Ethiopia with constant energy and to even export it to its neighbours.
While the TOTAL of Egypt’s population has access to power, not even HALF of Ethiopia’s has this privilege, in the 21st century and while being – with 85% – the main contributor to the Nile!
This is why Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011 with the hope of it being the solution to all its problems, e.g. poverty. It has become a symbol of national pride and is probably the only topic that every Ethiopian has the same stand on.
Ethiopia wants to fill the dam within seven years. Egypt fears this speed will lead to a water shortage in their country as it depends on the Nile River by 90% as its primary water source. Different parties repeatedly assured that the dam will not harm Egypt but will even benefit it.
Egypt is the gift of the Nile. Without it, it could’ve never become one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Since thousands of years, their agriculture depends on Nile flooding to not only water their fields but also provide them with fertile, Ethiopian soil.
To Egypt, the Nile River is of immense cultural as well as economic value, which is why Egypt is pushing for Ethiopia to come to an agreement and called in UN Security Council since previous talks between the parties were unsuccessful.
Previously, countries like the US were involved in hosting negotiations but were ineffective because Ethiopia didn’t want to be pressured by parties that are not neutral in this matter. African problems need African solutions!
Egypt has repeatedly threatened Ethiopia to not fill the dam without coming to an agreement between the three countries Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia first. Both countries have hinted that they’ll use military power – if necessary – to protect their interests.
Ethiopia wants to finally have it’s an overly due piece of the cake, and Egypt wants to decide how big it’s going to be.
I believe that all countries deserve an equal share of the Nile.