Ministers charged with water resources from the nine member States of Nile Basin Initiative are scheduled to meet in Kigali this Friday for their 20th ordinary meeting, during which will look into the possibility of South Sudan joining the bloc.
The annual meeting of the bloc's executive (Nile-Com) will be held under the theme; "Institutional sustainability for delivery of basin-wide benefits".
South Sudan requested for admission early this year and members are backing their bid. According to an official, South Sudan's joining the inter-governmental initiative will allow the fledgling state to take part in making decisions and laws related to use of Nile water.
The 20th Nile-COM meeting will also witness the effective handover of the chairmanship of the Nile Council of Ministers from Kenya to Rwanda and announce the appointment of a new Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat from Ethiopia effective, September 1. Egypt currently occupies the post.
The current Nile-COM Chair is Kenya's Minister of Water and Irrigation, Charity Kaluki Ngilu, while the current Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat is Dr. Wael Khairy.
It is a tradition in NBI to rotate the two positions among member states in alphabetical order (Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). Whereas the position of Nile-COM chair rotates every year, that of Executive Director every two years.
The Nile-COM meeting will be preceded by a two day meeting of the 36th Nile Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC) meeting.
The Nile-TAC comprises technical representatives from NBI member states and offers technical support and advice to the Nile Council of Ministers on matters related to the management and development of the Nile Basin water resources.
The 36th Nile-TAC meeting will discuss the annual NBI management report, work plan and budget for the fiscal year 2012/2013, Strategic Plan and later present these to the Nile-COM for approval.
Formally launched on February 22, 1999 in Dar- es- Salaam, Tanzania by the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin countries, the Initiative provides a unique forum for the countries to move forward a cooperative process to realise tangible benefits in the Basin and build a solid foundation of trust and confidence.