15 August 2017

Egypt: Tanzania, Egypt to Continue Talks On the Use of Nile Basin

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania and Egypt will continue with negotiations over use of the Nile Basin.

This was revealed by Egypt President Mr Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is on an official visit to Tanzania, during a joint press conference held at the State House yesterday.

Mr El-Sisis said the use of Nile water was among the agendas that featured during a meeting with his host, President John Magufuli.

The Egypt President said they could not reach an agreement during the meeting, but both agreed on further negotiations over how best to share the Nile Basin.

For his part, President Magufuli said Tanzania was ready for the talks. President Magufuli described the proposals presented by his Egyptian counterpart as positive. However, he did not reveal the details of the proposals. "We have heard you Mr President and I think the proposals will benefit all parties... since 51 per cent of Lake Victoria, which is the main source of the Nile water is in Tanzania, so we should also benefit," said the President.

In 2010, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda joined Tanzania in endorsing the treaty on the equitable sharing of the Nile water despite a strong opposition from Egypt and Sudan who have a lion's share of the river water. The government had expressed concern that it could not tap the Lake Victoria water for irrigation due to a long-standing treaty that bequeathed Egypt with the exclusive right of the use of the Nile water.

The Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world, is the source of river Nile, which is the longest in the world.

The upstream countries want to be able to carry out irrigation and hydropower projects in consultation with Egypt and Sudan, but without the former being able to exercise the veto power it was given by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain.

The new agreement, the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework, replaced the 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan, which gives them control of more than 90 per cent of the water flow. Speaking during the press conference, President Magufuli said President El-Sisi has agreed to construct meat and pharmaceutical factories in the county, among other things. They have also agreed to cooperate in other sectors like tourism, education, agriculture, security, defence, infrastructure, health, science and technology as well in the war against corruption.

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